Get your flu jab - heart charity warning

THE BRITISH Heart Foundation (BHF) is urging heart patients in Sussex to get the flu jab this winter.

People with heart disease are four times more likely to suffer a heart attack after developing an infection such as the flu (1). Across the South East of England there are 76,906 people living with heart disease (2).

Judy O’Sullivan, senior cardiac nurse at the BHF, said: “If you have heart disease and catch the flu you are at higher risk of developing serious complications.

“That’s why we’re urging heart patients across Sussex to visit their GP and get the flu jab. It more than halves your risk of developing the virus, takes less than a minute and it’s free.

“Now is the time to think ahead and protect your heart health this winter.”

Many people struggle to know the difference between flu and the common cold. Because of this the BHF has prepared a simple guide which appears in their ‘Heart Matters’ magazine.

Typical flu symptoms include: Fever (a temperature of 38c/100.4F or above) and chills; A dry or sometimes a chesty cough; runny or blocked nose; sneezing; sore throat; headache, tiredness; aching muscles or joints; upset stomach or diarrhoea; loss of appetite and difficult sleeping.

The heart charity also addresses concerns about whether or not the flu jab can actually cause the flu.

Judy O’Sullivan added: “It’s a common myth that the flu jab can actually cause the flu. Let’s be clear here, the flu jab does not cause the flu because it does not contain a live virus - it just contains part of a virus. This part is enough to build up the body’s immune system to help fight the infection.

“People with heart disease are eligible for the jab and the sooner they get it, the better.”

Further advice about fighting the flu this winter is available in Heart Matters.

Visit www.bhf.org.uk/heartmatters for more information.