Harvard Heart Letter

Protect your heart with a flu shot

Reduce the risk of spending your holidays in the hospital.

Flu season has started and will be well underway by the time the holidays arrive. Although a nasty case of the flu can sideline normally healthy people for several days, the virus can wreak havoc in people with heart disease. Every year, heart disease deaths and hospitalizations spike during flu season. Last winter, almost four in every 10 people hospitalized with the flu had heart disease.

"It's very common that heart patients get sick enough from the flu to require hospitalization, and the gravity of the illness is greater," says Dr. Mandeep R. Mehra, executive director of the Center for Advanced Heart Disease at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital.

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