Flu shots may help prevent heart attacks


A new study shows that flu shots do more than just prevent people from getting sick--they may also save lives.

Flu season is fast approaching, and if you don’t offer complimentary flu shots to your veterinary team members, then perhaps it’s time to start. You might even prevent a heart attack.

That’s the word out of England, where a University of Lincoln study found that adults who receive the shot are less likely to experience their first heart attack the next year. The study was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Researchers compared the medical records of more than 16,000 first-time heart attack victims ages 40 and older to the records of about 62,000 people who had not had heart attacks. After factoring out other heart attack risks, like smoking and family history, they found that those who had received a flu shot were 19 percent less likely to experience a heart attack the next year. That number jumped to 21 percent when they received the shot early in flu season.

Study author Niro Siriwardena was careful to point out that the study doesn’t prove that the shots prevent heart attacks, but that the vaccine is associated with the reduction. And in the case of your veterinary employees, isn’t that reduction enough of a reason to offer flu shots?

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Angela Elia, BS, LVT, CVT, VTS (ECC)
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