Researchers found that the seasonal influenza shot prevents first heart attacks in a study published in the September 20 online edition of the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).

A. Niroshan "Niro" Siriwardena, MBBS, MMedSci, PhD, FRCGP DCH, DRCOG, a professor at the School of Health and Social Care in the Faculty of Health, Life and Social Sciences at the University of Lincoln in England, co-authored the study and concluded that the seasonal flu shot was associated with a 19 percent drop in heart attacks.

However the authors noted that the pneumonia vaccine provided no heart healthy benefits.

If you are concerned about the flu and heart disease, Siriwardena and colleagues recommend getting the shot early in the season.

On September 22, autumn also known as 'flu season' officially begins in North America and on the 23 in Europe.

To monitor flu trends globally, visit:

Full study, "Influenza vaccination, pneumococcal vaccination and risk of acute myocardial infarction: matched case-control study":