Drs. Oz & Roizen’s Tip of the Day: A flu shot, straight to the heart

King Features SyndicateNovember 21, 2013 

When the giant Philistine soldier Goliath saw the Israelite shepherd boy David stroll out of an olive grove, sling in hand, to challenge him, we wouldn’t be surprised if the giant had thought something like, “Take your best shot, kid.” Down went Goliath.

Today modern medicine is bringing down another giant — influenza — one shot at a time. In fact, in the past six years, more than 13 million illnesses and 100,000 hospitalizations have been avoided because folks got their seasonal flu vaccine. And now a major review reveals that if you’ve had a heart attack or stroke, getting an annual flu shot will slash your risk of another cardiac event by up to 55 percent. This builds on a previous study that found a flu shot cuts the risk of a heart attack by 45 percent for folks who have cholesterol-clogged arteries but haven’t yet had a heart attack.

Flu shots are for everyone 6 months and older. This year, there is a standard shot available against two strains of influenza A and one of B (a trivalent vaccine). There’s a version for folks 18 and older who are allergic to eggs, and there’s a high-dose version for people 65 and older. And if you’re 18 to 64, the standard vaccine can be administered using an ultrathin needle for a lot less ouch.

Another version (called quadrivalent) also is available. It protects against two strains of A and two of B. It’s also available as a nasal spray for healthy folks 2 to 49. So, take your best shot!

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com.

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