IF YOU’RE FEELING under the weather, you may be tempted to write it off as just a cold or the flu. But flu-like symptoms can also signal serious health problems, such as a heart attack.
Sometimes the familiar warning signs of a cold or the flu—chills, dizziness, loss of appetite, and muscle aches—may indicate critical complications that prevent the proper flow of blood throughout the body, such as heart disease, myocarditis, or stroke.
When Should You See a Doctor?
Runny nose or a sore throat? It’s probably the common cold. So drink plenty of fluids, rest as much as possible, and wait it out.
Chills, fatigue, fever, and muscle pain? Make an appointment to see your healthcare provider.
These symptoms may be caused by influenza, and antiviral medications may shorten the duration of the illness. However, the same symptoms could also indicate a serious illness that your healthcare provider needs to address immediately and aggressively.
Flu-like symptoms associated with a heart attack may persist for weeks before the actual event occurs. In addition, chronic heartburn or chest pain may signal something dangerous on the horizon. So resist the urge to “be tough.” The smartest, strongest action you can take whenever you suspect your heart is in danger is to consult a medical professional.
If you experience the warning signs of a stroke, such as face drooping, arm weakness, and slurred speech, call 911.
Flu Prevention Best Practices
Flu season isn’t over yet, so here are three steps you can take to prevent it.
- Get vaccinated—The flu vaccination is the most effective way to keep yourself and your loved ones from getting this uncomfortable, unpleasant, and potentially dangerous virus, but don’t stop there.
- Get clean—Practicing good hygiene is one of the easiest ways to keep germs at bay. Take care to wash your hands after touching door handles, shaking hands at parties, and especially before eating. Cough or sneeze into a handkerchief, a tissue, or your sleeve instead of into your palm.
- Get rest—Additionally, help your immune system stay strong by getting plenty of rest, staying well hydrated, and eating nutrient-dense foods. Exercise regularly to build strength and stamina.
Looking for a primary care physician? Visit summithealthcare.net/find-a-doctor or call 855.SMT.4YOU.