I recently had a patient tell me about their friend who had a heart attack shortly after having a flu shot, and this was their reason for not getting a flu shot:   That the flu shot can cause heart attacks and strokes.

This is a great question.  If I heard this story, I too might hold off on my flu shot.

Do immunizations rev up the immune system and this initiate heart attacks and strokes?

I wasn’t sure of this answer, so I went to Google….but not regular Google where you find all sorts of misinformation when you are looking to answer a scientific question:  I went to Google Scholar.

For those who are not familiar, Google Scholar is a subset of Google that focuses on scientific and legitimate articles to eliminate the ‘trash’ on regular Google searches when you are trying to ask a more specific science question.

And, looking into this topic, I found a very specific answer to this question in an article in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine.

IN this 2004 article out of England, the researches did a population study and showed:

  1.   Flu shots and other immunizations are NOT associated with heart attacks and strokes
  2. Infections (respiratory and urinary) are associated with an increased risk for subsequent heart attack stroke in the following several weeks
  3. The mechanism of action is presumed due to inflammation activation…but this is unknown.

Although these are not high likelihoods, we can confirm that taking a flu shot for heart and stroke patients:  A:  Is Safe and B:  Will reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke by preventing infections.

Case Closed!