Flu Shots and Heart Disease

Dr. Deepti Bhandare Cardiologist SEBRING, FL

Dr. Deepti Bhandare is a cardiologist practicing in Detroit, MI. Dr. Bhandare specializes in diagnosing, monitoring, and treating diseases or conditions of the heart and blood vessels and the cardiovascular system. These conditions include heart attacks, heart murmurs, coronary heart disease, and hypertension. Dr. Bhandare... more

If you have heart disease, flu season can be a dangerous time. Complications from influenza (otherwise known as the flu) are more likely in people with heart disease. Receiving a flu shot can reduce your risk of catching the flu or developing severe complications from the flu.

If you have heart disease, you are at an increased risk of complications from the flu. These complications include pneumonia, respiratory failure, heart attack and death. Having the flu can also worsen pre-existing conditions, such as heart failure, diabetes or asthma.

Even if you get the flu despite having a flu shot, you'll probably have a less severe case of the flu. If you have heart disease, some research suggests that getting a flu shot might even lower your risk of a heart attack or other cardiovascular event, or death from a cardiovascular event. However, more research is needed to confirm this benefit.

It's also a good idea to get a flu shot if you live with or care for someone who has heart disease.

Flu vaccines are usually injected with a needle that is used for the upper extremity. Some people develop short-lived side effects, such as mild arm soreness at the injection site, a mild fever or muscle aches.

Talk to your doctor before getting a flu shot if you have an allergy to eggs, had a serious allergic reaction to the flu vaccine in the past, or a prior history of Guillain-Barre syndrome that developed after receiving a flu shot.