Can a flu shot help prevent a stroke

Most adults know the value of receiving an annual flu shot. For seniors, however, an interesting study conducted by University of Lincoln and The University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom revealed what might be one more reason to get your vaccine. They found that people who received an influenza shot early in the fall were 24% less likely to experience a stroke during that year’s flu season.

Investigating the Potential Link between Flu Shots and Reduced Risk of Stroke

Here is a quick overview of the research:

  • The records of over 47,000 people who had a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) were reviewed between 2001 and 2009.
  • Researchers looked at those who had a flu vaccine, as well as those who received a pneumonia vaccine.
  • Actual cases of stroke were compared against ‘control’ patients so research could be adjusted for other factors that might explain the differences in risk.
  • Their research showed the flu vaccination was associated with a 24% reduction in risk of stroke.
  • Those patients who had their vaccine early in flu season had the strongest incidence of reduced rate of stroke.
  • The flu vaccine showed no statistically significant reduction in risk for a TIA.
  • Receiving the pneumococcal vaccination did not appear to reduce the risk for a stroke or a TIA.

In 2010, this same research group also found a link between flu vaccines and decreased risk for heart attacks. Their previous trial showed people who received an early flu vaccination (between September and mid-November) had a 21% greater reduction in the rate of heart attacks compared with receiving flu shot late in the season where there was only a 12% reduction.

To read more about these trials and other flu shot research, visit Science Daily online.

 

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