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Flu shots may reduce risk of stroke

Need another reason to get a flu shot? It may reduce your risk of suffering a stroke, at least temporarily.

British researchers found the risk of having a stroke fell 20 percent over the 59 days following a flu shot. The protection is at its strongest in the first week after the shot, with the chance of suffering a stroke dropping by 36 percent. The protective effect diminishes each week and disappears by the end of two months.

It is unclear exactly why the shot is protective against stroke, but researchers noted that the flu is known as a trigger for some cardiovascular diseases, possibly by weakening the body's immune system. So by preventing the flu, the vaccine may be doing double duty and adding protection against stroke.

The study was published in the current issue of the medical journal Vaccine.

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