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The flu and heart disease

People with heart disease are at risk of developing flu complications and severe infection. Heart disease includes heart failure, heart valve disorders, arrythmias and congenital heart disease (heart defect since birth). If you've had a stroke in the past, you would also be part of this higher risk group.

People with heart disease are more likely to be hospitalized and often experience worsening of their condition. In fact, those with heart disease who get the flu have a higher risk of heart attack and stroke. It's important to keep in mind that people with heart disease are among the most common groups to be hospitalized due to the flu.

People with heart disease aren't the only ones who are at high risk for flu complications and severe infection. People with diabetes, asthma, weakened immune systems, and many others with chronic medical conditions are also at risk. Are you at risk for flu complications?

There are a few steps you can take to protect yourself from the flu:

  • Wash your hands properly (at least 20 seconds with soap and water) and frequently. If you don't have any soap or water nearby, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid crowds and stay home if you think you have the flu.
  • Cough and sneeze into your arm (not your hand!).
  • Eat healthy and get regular exercise to keep your immune system strong.
  • Get vaccinated. Your doctor may recommend you get the yearly flu vaccine and the pneumococcal vaccine.
  • Manage your heart disease. Take your medication and follow the treatment plan as recommended by your health care provider.
  • Encourage other members in your household to get the yearly flu vaccine.

If you do end up catching the flu, it's important to see your doctor as soon as you notice the first signs of flu symptoms. Common flu symptoms in the first 4 days of getting the flu include:

  • fever
  • cough
  • muscle aches and pain

Don't wait until your symptoms worsen. People with heart disease should see their doctor as soon as possible so that they can begin treatment. If it's identified early on, your doctor may prescribe medication to reduce the risk of your flu worsening. Regardless, it is important to get plenty of rest and stay hydrated. If you would like to obtain an over-the-counter product for your fever or muscle aches, speak to your pharmacist to find the right treatment for you.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2024. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source:

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