Health & Spirit

When flu delivers the old one-two

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

Around 1919, the phrase "the old one-two" first appeared when sports writers described a left-right combo that landed an opponent flat on his back. And it's just as appropriate today when using the phrase to describe what can happen if you come down with the flu.

This is an especially flu-ish year. As of Feb. 2, 42 states plus New York City and the District of Columbia report what's called "high activity," meaning people everywhere are coming down with influenza. And, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it's hit the 65-and-over age group hardest.

Punch No. 2? If you're sick enough with the flu to see a doctor, you're also at increased risk for a heart attack. A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that during the first seven days of diagnosis with laboratory-confirmed influenza, the risk of heart attack skyrockets to six times greater than normal for folks 35 and older! The good news? By day eight and beyond, the increased risk disappears completely.

A couple of tips:

If you are hit with the flu, we recommend you see if there's a doc using telemedicine in your area; you don't have to schlep to an office, exposing others and wearing yourself out.

If you have the flu and experience shortness of breath, chest, neck, jaw or arm pain, nausea and/or severe abdominal pressure, don't ignore the symptoms or assume they're from the flu. Call 911 to protect yourself from the one-two punch of flu and heart attack.

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Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c) 2018 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2018 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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