Researchers at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine have revealed that respiratory infections can double the risk of heart attacks and strokes in winters.
It has been found that there is a sturdy increase in the number of deaths from coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke during the winter months.
The study led by Tim Clayton and Tom Meade of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine's Medical Statistics Unit suggests that the benefit of reducing respiratory infection, either through ensuring high immunisation rates or by treating and preventing infection, may be substantial.
Clayton said that the data provides a strong evidence for a linking the infection with heart problems.
"These data add to the growing body of evidence linking respiratory infection with subsequent risk of cardiovascular events. However, the absolute risk of such an event to an individual with respiratory infection remains low," said Clayton.
Dr. Mike Knapton, Director of Prevention and Care at the British Heart Foundation who funded the research also said that influenza could cause heart attacks.
"We recommend that anyone with heart disease has the flu jab. Influenza is a serious infection, particularly in patients with heart disease such as heart failure, and it could even trigger a heart attack," said Knapton.
"Flu is a potential killer and heart patients are offered the flu jab for free, no matter what their age."
"We strongly recommend they take up the offer to give themselves protection against the flu," he added.
The research is published in the online edition of the European Heart Journal.