Flu vaccine linked to lower risk of stroke

Patient receiving flu vaccine

Getting an annual flu shot may be associated with a lower risk of stroke, Spanish researchers have claimed.

The findings, from a study conducted at the University of Alcalá in Madrid, have been published in the journal Neurology.

The observational study suggests that those who have a flu shot have a lower risk of stroke. However, it is known that getting the flu increases your risk of stroke, so more research is needed into whether the vaccine itself has a protective effect.

The study looked at ischaemic stroke, the most common type of stroke. Researchers looked at a healthcare database in Spain and identified people who were at least 40-years-old and had a first stroke over a 14-year period. 

After adjusting for other risk factors, researchers found that those who received a flu shot were 12% less likely to have a stroke than those who did not. The pneumonia vaccine did not seem to have a similar effect.

“These results are yet another reason for people to get their yearly flu shot, especially if they are at an increased risk of stroke,” said study author Francisco J de Abajo. “To be able to reduce your risk of stroke by taking such a simple action is very compelling.”

Read the original paper here.

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