A new study has found that the flu can increase your risk of having a stroke for almost a year.
While researchers have yet to identify the exact cause, they speculate it could be because of the inflammation caused by the flu infection. Previous research has also shown that the flu vaccine can drastically reduce the risk of stroke.
Researchers from Columbia University in the US conducted the study. The team examined the medical records of 30,912 people who were admitted to a hospital after having a stroke. Most of the people were around the age of 72. Data revealed people who exhibited flu-like symptoms and had been admitted to the hospital had close to a 40 percent chance of having a stroke within 15 days.
"The association occurred within 15 days. That's important for people to know because if they get the flu, they want to be on the lookout for symptoms of stroke, especially early on after the flu," Philip B Gorelick, Professor at the Michigan State University in the US, told a news portal.
Another study also found that the flu increased the risk of neck artery tear, which is a leading cause of stroke. Neck artery tears occur when a large blood vessel in the neck is damaged and causes blood clots.
"Cervical or neck dissections make up about two percent of all strokes and up to 25 percent of strokes in persons who are under 45 years of age," Gorelick revealed. Adding, "So this is specifically important to people who are in that under 45 age group, but not exclusively."
Both studies will be presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2019.
Influenza can result in potentially life-threatening complications like heart disease, pneumonia and sepsis.