How Does Influenza Put Stress On The Heart
Past evidence suggests that respiratory illnesses like the flu can cause a widespread, systemic inflammatory response.
This inflammation puts a lot of stress on the body and can trigger all sorts of complications, particularly involving the heart. It could lead to new heart disease or worsen underlying cardiac conditions.
For example, the inflammation caused by influenza can disrupt plaque functioning, setting the stage for acute ischemic heart disease.
Bhuyan said the inflammation could theoretically also cause an arrhythmia.
Though the new report from the University of Washington is the largest of its kind establishing the link between the flu and heart problems, its not the first.
Initial evidence pointing to the flu-heart relationship dates back to the 1930s, when researchers first reported that some patients with respiratory infections were experiencing cardiovascular problems, according to Chow.
Over the years, its become increasingly clear theres a real connection between the flu and the heart.
A study from 2018 found that a significant number of people with acute respiratory infections, especially the flu, also experienced acute myocardial infarction aka heart attacks.
Flu complications also tend to be worse in people with underlying cardiovascular problems.
We knew that people who got the flu that had underlying health issues, including heart disease, were more likely to be hospitalized with the flu, said Bhuyan.
Do I Need To Get The Flu Vaccine Every Year
The flu vaccine is needed every year for two reasons.
The first is that your bodys immune response to influenza decreases over time. Receiving the vaccine every year helps you have continued protection.
The second reason is that the influenza virus is constantly changing. This means that the viruses that were prevalent in the previous flu season may not be in the upcoming season.
The flu vaccine is updated every year to include protection against the influenza viruses most likely to circulate in the upcoming flu season. A seasonal flu shot is the most effective protection.
recommends that children over 6 months of age receive the flu vaccine. Children under 6 months old are too young to receive the vaccine.
Flu vaccine side effects in babies are similar to those in adults. They may include:
- low-grade fever
- muscle aches
- soreness at the injection site
Some children between ages 6 months and 8 years may need two doses. Ask your childs doctor how many doses your child needs.
Pregnant women should get the flu vaccine every year. Changes in your immune system during pregnancy lead to an increased risk of severe illness or hospitalization due to influenza.
Both the and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend pregnant women get the seasonal flu shot in any trimester of pregnancy.
While additional studies need to be completed to investigate this concern, both the
Are People With Heart Disease More At Risk For Complications From The Flu
People who already have heart disease might be more prone to develop complications from the flu.
Complications from the flu may include:
- Heart attack
Having a bout with the flu also can make heart failure, diabetes, asthma or other pre-existing conditions worse.
For those who already have heart disease, research suggests getting a flu shot could reduce the risk of having a heart attack or stroke or dying of a cardiovascular event. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings. Studies are also underway to establish the benefits of high-dose flu shots.
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When Is The Best Time To Get My Flu Shot
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting a flu shot every year by the end of October. However, if flu shots aren’t yet available or you haven’t received yours yet, you can still get a flu shot until January and sometimes even later. Flu season doesn’t usually peak until the winter.
The flu shot is typically available through primary care doctors, public health departments and some pharmacies. It’s usually best to call ahead to determine if the provider you are considering has the flu vaccine available and if you need an appointment.
Still Getting The Flu
Sometimes you can get the flu shot and still come down with the flu. It takes around 2 weeks after receiving the vaccination for your body to develop immunity. During this time, you can still get catch the flu.
Another reason why you can still catch the flu is if there wasnt a good vaccine match. Researchers need to decide which strains to include in the vaccine many months before flu season actually starts.
When theres not a good match between the selected strains and the strains that actually end up circulating during flu season, the vaccine isnt as effective.
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New Study Says Flu Shot Might Be Good For Heart
PITTSBURGH — Are flu shots good for more than keeping you flu-free?
It may be your heart that reaps the benefit, too.
In fact, along with diet, exercise and not smoking, one cardiologist already urges her patients to get one.
“During the winter season we also talk about getting the flu shot,” says Allegheny General Hospital cardiologist Dr. Indu Poornima.
Researchers reviewed five decades of published clinical trials looking at the influenza vaccine and heart disease.
They combined four studies of more than 3,000 patients.
One half had heart disease, the other half did not. One half the participants had been randomly assigned to get a flu shot, the other half placebo.
At one year of follow-up, the group getting the flu shot was 50 percent less likely to have a heart attack or stroke and 40 percent less likely to die of any cause.
“Inflammation is one of the biggest triggers for heart attacks, in addition to all the risk factors. And the flu is definitely an inflammatory disease,” Dr. Porrnima explains.
The study, which is not yet published, is being presented to Canadian heart doctors meeting this week in Toronto.
Some limitations are not all the studies kept secret whether a participant got flu shot or placebo. Some were at one hospital only and heart disease risk varied greatly among the participants.
But those who get a flu shot don’t get as many shocks as the ones who are not vaccinated.
Vaccine Supply And Distribution
How much influenza vaccine is projected to be available for the 2021-2022 influenza season?
Flu vaccine is produced by private manufacturers, so supply depends on manufacturers. Vaccine manufacturers have projected that they will supply the United States with as many as 188 million to 200 million doses of influenza vaccine for the 2021-2022 season. These projections may change as the season progresses. All flu vaccines for the 2021-2022 season will be quadrivalent . Most will be thimerosal-free or thimerosal-reduced vaccine and about 18% of flu vaccines will be egg-free.
Where can I find information about vaccine supply?
Special Consideration Regarding Egg Allergy
People with egg allergies can receive any licensed, recommended age-appropriate influenza vaccine that is otherwise appropriate. People who have a history of severe egg allergy should be vaccinated in a medical setting, supervised by a health care provider who is able to recognize and manage severe allergic reactions. Two completely egg-free flu vaccine options are available: quadrivalent recombinant vaccine and quadrivalent cell-based vaccine.
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Types Of Flu Vaccines For People With Heart Disease
- Flu shots are approved for use in people with heart disease and certain other health conditions. Flu shots have a long, established safety record in people with heart disease.
- The live attenuated influenza vaccine or the nasal spray vaccine, is an option for people who are not pregnant and who are 2 through 49 years old. But, people with some chronic medical conditions should generally not get LAIV.
Get pneumococcal vaccines.
- Pneumococcal pneumonia is an example of a serious flu-related complication that can cause death.
- People who have heart disease should also be up to date with pneumococcal vaccination to protect against pneumococcal disease, such as pneumonia, meningitis, and bloodstream infections.
- You can get either Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine or Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine when you get a flu vaccine.
- Talk to your health care provider to find out which pneumococcal vaccines are recommended for you.
When Can I Get Vaccinated
Each state is in charge of its own vaccine rollout, so who is currently eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine differs by state and even by county. Federal guidelines recommend that adults with underlying medical conditions which increase the risk of serious, life-threatening complications from COVID-19 be prioritized for vaccination. This includes cardiovascular disease, but the guidance doesnt further define whether or not some types of cardiovascular disease should be prioritized over others. States have all created their own guidelines as to which heart diseases qualify a person for early vaccination, and whether or not people must have multiple underlying conditions to fall into a priority vaccine group.
Having cardiovascular disease is not one-size-fits-all, so what we have done locally is look at whether patients have more than one high risk condition, whether they have been recently hospitalized, or are older, because age seems to be an important risk factor as well. If you combine these factors you can come up with a score that can tell you which patients are more high-risk, says Abbate, who is based in Virginia.
If you have a well-controlled heart condition that has not led to hospitalization in years, and dont have any comorbidities such as diabetes, youre not super low risk, but certainly arent very high risk, says Abbate.
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What The Research Team Looked At
The research team set out to understand how prevalent cardiovascular events are in people with flu, along with the risk factors for such events.
Looking at the health data of 89,999 flu patients between the 2010 to 2018 influenza seasons, the researchers determined that 11.7 percent of these people experienced an acute cardiovascular event like acute heart failure and acute ischemic heart disease.
The team also identified a number of risk factors:
- tobacco use
- heart disease
- kidney disease
Though flu patients with one of these risk factors had a higher chance of experiencing a cardiac event after contracting the flu, 5 percent had no previous underlying health conditions.
In our study, we showed that acute cardiovascular events such as heart failure or heart attacks are common complications associated with adults hospitalized with influenza, lead author Dr. Eric Chow, an infectious diseases fellow at the University of Washington School of Medicine, told Healthline.
Vaccination Is The Best Protection Against Flu
Flu vaccination is especially important for people with heart disease or who have had a stroke because they are at higher risk for complications from flu. Vaccination has been associated with lower rates of some cardiac eventsexternal icon among people with heart disease, especially among those who had had a cardiac event in the past year.
Flu vaccines are updated each season to keep up with changing viruses. Because the immunity provided by flu vaccines decreases over time, annual vaccination is needed to ensure the best possible protection against flu. A flu vaccine protects against the flu viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. More information about why flu vaccines may be updated each year is available: Vaccine Virus Selection, as well as this seasons exact vaccine composition.
CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a seasonal flu vaccine each year, ideally by the end of October.
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Benefits Of A Flu Shot
According to the American Heart Association , the influenza vaccine does not just help prevent the fluit also reduces older adults’ chances of dying from heart disease by 18%. It also reduces their risk of dying from other causes by 28%.
The CDC recommends that everyone age six months and older receive an annual flu vaccination.
The influenza vaccine offers many health benefits for people of all ages. According to the CDC, getting an annual flu shot may:
- Prevent illness and flu-related doctor’s visits
- Reduce the chance of flu-related hospitalizations
- Reduce severe chronic lung disease
- Reduce the risk of severe complications of diabetes
- Protect people who are pregnant or have recently given birth
- Protect vulnerable people around you
- Protects infants who are too young to be vaccinated
The flu shot may also reduce the severity of COVID-19-related illness. Additionally, the same hand-washing, mask-wearing, and social distancing precautions in place during the COVID-19 pandemic can also help decrease the spread of the flu virus.
Should People Who Are Immunocompromised Get A Flu Shot
Another misconception is that individuals with chronic conditions who may be immunocompromised may have a worse reaction to the vaccine because they are more vulnerable. Health officials say this is not so.
When we say that the vaccine is universally recommended for ages 6 months and above, we mean it, says Dr. Conway. The only group that should absolutely not get it again would be somebody with a genuine allergic reaction to the vaccine obviously, they should avoid it.
Older people and people with underlying conditions should really even be higher priority than others to get the flu vaccine, says Dean Winslow, MD, an infectious disease specialist and professor of medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine in California.
The fact is, the flu can be much more disastrous for these high-risk populations.
People with asthma, heart disease, diabetes, and a number of other chronic health conditions are at a higher risk of developing serious flu complications that can result in hospitalization or even death, per the CDC.
Indeed, during recent flu seasons, 9 out of 10 people hospitalized with the flu had at least one underlying health condition, the agency notes.
Being pregnant also puts you at an increased risk of more severe illness from the flu. This is due to changes in the immune system, heart, and lungs that occur during pregnancy .
The flu vaccine offers protection against the flu to both the mother and the baby.
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Myocarditis is condition that involves inflammation of the heart muscle. Symptoms can include fever and fatigue, as well as shortness of breath and a very specific type of chest pain. Patients tend to say their chest hurts more when they lean forward. The pain tends to abate when they lean back.
When needed, treatment may involve anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, and in some cases, an intravenous medication called IVIG.
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Generally, children who have myocarditis will follow up with a cardiologist for about six months to make sure there are no other significant problems. Most cases are generally mild and go away on their own.
Vaccine safety experts are always on the lookout for a range of possible side effects following any new vaccine. Despite the increased number of reported myocarditis cases among young people, Shimabukuro said, no major red flags have been identified.
Still, the higher-than-normal incidence is worthy of further scrutiny. The CDC will hold a meeting of its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on June 18 to further look at the evidence and assess the risk of myocarditis following vaccination.
Until definitive links are made, health officials overwhelmingly recommend Covid-19 vaccinations for everyone ages 12 and older.
Ive Heard People Can Still Get Covid
Its true that so-called breakthrough cases have been reported across the United States, because none of the vaccines are 100 percent effective, but such infections are very rare.
Preliminary data from the University of California, New England Journal of Medicine, found that of the 28,184 healthcare workers who received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, 7 tested positive for COVID-19 15 days after receiving their second dose. The number was higher among those who had received only one dose or who were infected during the two-week period that vaccinated people must wait to have a full immune response and be considered fully vaccinated.
In any case, the COVID-19 vaccines are very good at preventing serious illness and death due to the disease. The vaccines teach your body to fight the virus off quicker and more effectively, preventing serious illness. Vaccinating as many people as possible will prevent a second wave of the virus and will protect those who cannot get the vaccine for medical reasons from getting the disease, says Antonio Abbate, MD, a cardiologist at the Virginia Commonwealth University Pauley Heart Center in Richmond.
New research has found that the two-dose vaccines are also quite good at preventing infection, and therefore transmission, of the virus.
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Should I Be Concerned About Myocarditis Or Pericarditis After Getting The Covid
Myocarditis and pericarditis refer, respectively, to inflammation of the heart muscle or the pericardium the sac surrounding the heart. Myocarditis and pericarditis can occur after a viral infection, including COVID-19, as a result of an exaggerated immune response. Myocarditis and pericarditis can also occur after a vaccination, likely related to the immune response generated by the vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released data showing a small increase in cases of myocarditis and pericarditis after receiving the mRNA COVID-19 vaccination , especially in young adults. In the great majority of cases, though, the myocarditis and pericarditis were mild and resolved on their own.
Risk of these complications is very low. However, if you experience chest pain or discomfort, shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting in the days following your COVID-19 vaccination, it would be prudent to seek medical attention to exclude these or other rare complications of the COVID-19 vaccine.