Virginia News Connection
With COVID cases on the rise this holiday season, health officials are also encouraging folks to get their flu shots and get an annual checkup before the end of the year after many postponed the two health-care steps during the pandemic.
Getting a flu shot is beneficial during the COVID crisis, but many people do not know flu shots also have value for folks with heart disease.
Dr. Ameya Kulkarni, a cardiologist at Kaiser Permanante in McLean, Virginia, noted an American Heart Association study showed if you’ve had a heart attack, a flu shot lowers your risk of dying.
“If you’ve had heart disease or have had a stroke or had bypass surgery or a heart attack, getting that flu shot is not only protecting you from getting the flu, it’s potentially protecting you from dying from really any cause,” Kulkarni outlined. “So, it’s a really neat additional benefit of getting the flu shot.”
He said flu shots are quick and administered with COVID safety precautions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends flu shots for most people six months of age and older, and especially those at high risk for developing complications.
Kulkarni pointed out many have put off going to the doctor’s office during the pandemic for routine checkups and treatment plans. He explained many health-care facilities are using protective measures to make visits safer, and if you can’t afford to see a doctor right now, there are easy steps you can take to maintain your health.
“The simple things you can do is know your numbers and pay attention to your symptoms,” Kulkarni advised. “If you know your blood pressure, that’s a key thing to know, and just trying to stay active, keep a good diet, those are things you can do to reduce your risks of having a long-term illness and also, if you have an illness, identifying it early.”
Many doctors now offer Telehealth visits if you’re still concerned about seeing someone in person. For more information on flu vaccines and going back to the doctor, visit the American Heart Association website.