New research suggests getting the flu can increase the risk of having a heart attack.
Researchers at the UCL Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology in London looked at 39 studies conducted between 1932 and 2008 and found that heart attacks were more common during flu season, especially in patients with heart disease or diabetes.
“Most of the time with influenza, death or hospitalization isnt because of the influenza, its because influenza puts you in a weakened state its a stress on the system,” Dr. Marc Siegel of New York University School of Medicine tells HealthDay. “It is not surprising that you would have the increased risk of a myocardial infarction during or right after an influenza infection,” he adds.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise anyone with chronic medical conditions, like heart disease, to get vaccinated against the flu. This study echoes the recommendation, saying that getting a flu shot reduced the risk of dying from heart disease or suffering a heart attack.
Meanwhile, frequent hand washing is considered one of the best ways to avoid the virus.
Vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, echinacea and probiotics have all been shown to boost immunity and may help avoid both the seasonal flu and the H1N1strain of the virus. These are available as nutritional health supplements.