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Hidden Heart Risks for Cold & Flu Season

Hidden Heart Risks for Cold & Flu Season
Cold and flu season starts as early as October and lasts until as late as February. During this peak season -- those brutal and cold winter months -- the basics are clear as to how to prevent yourself from falling ill.

Everyone will tell you to get a flu shot, eat healthy and wholesome foods, wash your hands, and bundle up to prevent the spread of germs.

Let's say you do fall victim to a cold or flu... you know all too well those symptoms can be miserable. Your nose is runs and runs but then becomes clogged, your body is hot but you are freezing, your head feels like it weighs a ton, and your body feels like you've been hit by a bus.

You may think to treat these awful symptoms with over-the-counter or prescription medications; but did you know there are hidden heart risks associated with these medications?

For example, you may not be aware that common OTC medicines, like decongestants, can increase blood pressure or put you at risk for other health conditions.

This is especially concerning considering that one in three people in the U.S. have high blood pressure, and those rates are higher in minority groups. Depending on the ingredients used in medications, you may be increasing your blood pressure even more.

What types of medications should you be staying away from?
  • Products with caffeine
  • Decongestants

If you're unsure about the labeling on the medication you're looking at, or if you're not sure which medications you should be taking, don't hesitate to ask your pharmacist. It's important to know that while a certain medication might work for people in your family, it may not work for YOU. In another words, don't share medications!

What else do you need to know about hidden heart risks from the flu and cold medications?

From the American Heart Association, Rani G. Whitfield, MD, shares how to be heart healthy and prevent complications by reading labels, talking to your doctor, and making good health choices during flu season.
Featured Speaker:
Rani G. Whitfield, MD
Rani Dr. Rani G. Whitfield, a Board Certified Family Physician with a Certificate of added qualification (CAQ) in Sports medicine, is currently in private practice in his native Baton Rouge, LA.

Dr. Whitfield attended University High School in Baton Rouge and then earned his undergraduate degree from Southern University and A&M College, also in Baton Rouge. He completed medical school at MeHarry Medical College in Nashville, TN, completed his residency in Family Medicine at Franciscan Medical Center in Dayton, OH, and went on to earn his Certificate of Added Qualification in Sports Medicine from Ohio State University.

Dr. Whitfield is an impassioned advocate for increasing the awareness of health-related issues affecting today's youth, young adults, and the elderly, including HIV/AIDS, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and substance abuse.