Could a flu shot help lower your risk for this, too?

Could a flu shot help lower your risk for this, too?

It’s the time of year to get your annual flu shot for all the usual reasons, such as helping you avoid a flu season that some have predicted could be a difficult one.

But researchers have found another possible good reason to get your annual vaccine: It could be linked to a lower risk for stroke.

New research published in the journal Neurology found that in the group of people they studied, those who got the flu shot in a given year had a lower risk for having a stroke in that year. One possible reason for the association is that getting the flu can raise your risk for stroke, at least temporarily. But there may be other factors, too, that researchers need to study further.

“This is just one more among many good reasons to get a flu shot,” says Dr. Demetrius Lopes, co-director of the Comprehensive Stroke Program at Advocate Aurora Health. “The annual vaccine is our best tool for preventing the flu, and any reasonable measure we can take to help prevent strokes is worth pursuing.”

Stroke is a major cause of disability and death in the U.S.

When it comes to stroke care, timing is everything to prevent brain damage and other complications. If you suspect someone is having a stroke, remember the B.E. F.A.S.T. warning signs:

Balance: Is the person experiencing loss of coordination?

Eyes: Is the person having trouble seeing?

Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of their face droop?

Arms: Ask them to raise their arms. Does one drift downward?

Speech: Is their speech slurred or strange?

Terrible headache and Time to call 911: Does the person have a terrible pain that feels like “the worst headache ever?”

If you observe any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately.

Want to learn more about your risk for stroke? Take a free online quiz here. 

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About the Author

Mike Riopell
Mike Riopell

Mike Riopell, health enews contributor, is a media relations coordinator with Advocate Aurora Health. He previously worked as a reporter and editor covering politics and government for the Chicago Tribune, Daily Herald and Bloomington Pantagraph, among others. He enjoys bicycles, home repair, flannel shirts and being outside.