Ask Dr. Nandi: The flu is even more deadly than we thought

Sadly, more children have died in the past few weeks from flu-related symptoms, including a 12-year-old boy from Florida.

The virus has claimed more than 100 lives this season across the U.S., with at least 30 children among those numbers. In some states, entire school districts have closed.

Influenza is now widespread in every state except Hawaii. And now, even more bad news: researchers have learned that the virus is capable of killing both directly AND indirectly.

A new Canadian study shows that having the flu significantly raises a person’s risk of a heart attack, even after symptoms are at their worst.

Researchers in Ontario looked at more than 330 patients who were hospitalized with heart problems.

They found “a significant association between respiratory infections, especially influenza, and acute myocardial infarction” — which is a fancy word for a heart attack.

The study’s authors found that people at risk for heart disease had a SIX times greater chance of having a heart attack within the first week of a flu diagnosis. So that’s really significant. 

Anyone who’s at risk for heart disease..please pay close attention. Here are my prescriptions. 

Partha’s Rx

1. Take extra precautions to prevent catching the flu by doing things like hand-washing, coughing in the crook of your arm, and getting the flu shot.
2. If you have cardiac symptoms, like chest pain or pressure, shortness of breath after a respiratory illness, go to your doctor immediately. 
3. Take this new information seriously. Even people with no history of heart attacks are still at higher risk. 
4. Keep an eye on the children and older adults in your life. Most flu deaths come from these segments of the population. 

There are three main reasons why the flu becomes a killer. The first is that it can join forces with other germs like strep…secondly, it can make existing conditions, like heart disease or asthma, much worse…and finally, it can ramp up the immune system to over-respond. All of these things can potentially lead to a heart attack.

I want all of you watching to understand that these are just more reasons why we need to take this flu epidemic very seriously.   

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