February 2, 2024

Repeating heart icons

February is American Heart Month, and the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) is raising awareness about the importance of vaccines for people with heart disease and other chronic health conditions. 

For people with heart disease, getting vaccinated is as important to staying healthy as diet and exercise.

Heart disease can make it harder for your body to fight off disease and can increase the risk of serious complications from certain diseases, including COVID-19, influenza (flu), pneumococcal disease, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)—each of which can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. These respiratory diseases can cause inflammation, which can lead to blood clots and blocked arteries in people with heart disease.

Here are 5 reasons why getting vaccinated is good for your heart:

  1. Fight Flu: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), among people hospitalized with flu this season, about 90% had at least 1 chronic health condition, and 45% of adults hospitalized for flu from October-November 2023 had heart disease. People with heart disease are 6 times more likely to have a heart attack within a week after getting flu.
  2. Pneumonia Prevention: People with heart disease are at increased risk of hospitalization and even death from complications of pneumococcal disease, which can include pneumonia and other serious infections.
  3. COVID-19 Concerns: People with COVID-19 are 3-8 times more likely to have a heart attack and 3-7 times more likely to have a stroke. Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 not only reduces the risk of severe illness, but also helps prevent potential cardiovascular complications linked to the virus.
  4. Prevent RSV: RSV is a common respiratory virus that impacts people of all ages and can be serious. Complications such as heart attacks and heart failure occur in about 20% of adult patients hospitalized with RSV.
  5. Increased Immunity (and Overall Well-Being): Getting vaccinated is part of a healthy lifestyle, particularly for those with heart disease. Vaccination helps protect against specific diseases and contributes to overall immune system strength. Like eating healthy foods, exercising, and getting regular check-ups, vaccines can play a vital role in keeping you healthy.
With respiratory viruses still circulating across the US, it’s not too late to #GetVaccinated.

Find Out What Vaccines Are Recommended for People with Heart Disease

Throughout February, NFID will observe American Heart Month by reminding iHeartRadio listeners that getting vaccinated is good for your heart:

To join the conversation and get the latest news on infectious diseases, follow NFID on X (Twitter), like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, visit us on LinkedIn, listen and subscribe to the Infectious IDeas podcast, and subscribe to receive future NFID Updates.