SALEM, Ohio (WKBN) – You hear about the importance of getting the flu shot every year but now there’s another reason doctors are recommending it. A new study shows the flu vaccination can prevent heart attacks.
“When patients get the flu, it can really put a real stress on their system. It causes a lot of inflammation, maybe increases the chance for blood clots and just the stress of illness on the heart can cause heart attacks,” said Dr. Michael Sevilla, with the Family Practice Center of Salem.
The numbers in the study are so convincing, Sevilla said he’ll recommend the shot to all heart patients.
“The flu shot is just another recommendation that we’ll be making to help optimize their heart health.”
In late February, the flu is as strong as ever.
“It’s never too late to get your flu shot,” Sevilla said.
The Ohio Department of Health reports over 230 hospitalizations in Mahoning County because of the flu. Testing kits are flying off the shelves, including at Sevilla’s office.
“We’ve been out of flu testing kits for a couple of weeks now because we’ve been testing everybody. We’ve been very aggressive in trying to find out if people do have the flu and treating them appropriately.”
Sevilla said this year’s flu shot is about twice as effective for children than it is for adults.
In recent flu seasons, the nasal spray — known as FluMist — hasn’t been shown to be very effective. But it’s being reworked so it’s ready for next season.
“That’s been popular with some of the younger patients who don’t like the shot, so I’m glad that they’re looking at that and it’s probably going to be back for next flu season,” Sevilla said.
He expects this year’s flu season to run as late as April.
Doctors are hoping after this season, many parents will think about having their children immunized.