Your Chances of Heart Attack Are Higher When You Have the Flu

flu
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Sniffles, body aches, headaches, sore throat… heart attacks?!?

Yes, now not only does the flu give you all the wonderful usual symptoms but getting a bug puts some guys at much greater risk for heart attack, according to a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine. Canadian researchers found 364 cases where people were hospitalized with a heart attack and had been sick with the flu, either one year before or after. All the heart attack victims were 35 and older. 20 of them happened seven days after flu diagnosis.

“Infections cause inflammation and that can cause clotting in vessels that serve the heart. In someone already at high risk, this can push them over,”  lead author, Dr. Jeffrey C. Kwong, senior scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto told the New York Times.

The research found that heart attack risk was six times greater the week after being diagnosed with the flu. They also noted that other viral respiratory infections could triple heart attack risk.

Year-round make sure to wash your hands, wipe down your phone and tablets, eat anti-oxidant rich fruits and veggies, and get some exercise to ward off any potential flu viruses that start floating around. Practice those four healthy habits as well as these six others to keep illness at bay.