Get a flu shot. Flu increases the risk of hospitalization or death from cardiovascular disease. In studies, flu shots have been shown to reduce heart attacks and strokes by 55 percent in people who had recently suffered a cardiovascular event. The flu vaccine is associated with a 50 percent reduction in flu-season deaths among heart failure patients. "Even if the vaccine is not fully effective, it can lessen the likelihood you will have a heart attack or stroke," says Dr. Rocco.