1. Common colds boost heart attack risk

    The summer sniffles could tax your ticker

    It's HOT out -- so why do you have a COLD?

    Turns out, catching a summer cold is way more likely than you might think.

    Though most colds happen during the winter -- thanks to cool weather-loving rhinoviruses -- you can still get walloped with the sniffles in summer, when enteroviruses are most active.

    Enteroviruses cause 10 to 15 million illnesses each year -- primarily between June and October.

    You want to do everything you can to avoid catching a summer cold, and not just because it's a drag. According to the latest research, avoiding a cold could SAVE YOUR LIFE!

    The new study finds that you're at greater risk for suffering a heart attack in the weeks immediately following a cold or respiratory infection.

    When Australian researchers interviewed 578 heart attack patients, 21 percent of them reported having had a cold or other mild respiratory illness within a month before the heart attack struck.

    Sure, that could just be a coincidence. But 17 percent of those interviewed reported similar symptoms within the previous WEEK.

    After crunching the numbers, the researchers determined that patients who had a recent cold or upper respiratory infection were a whopping 13 TIMES more likely to have a heart attack than patients who reported no infections.

    The theory is that respiratory infections can bring on a heart attack because they increase inflammation. And, as you know, inflammation is the culprit behind many of our most common diseases and health conditions -- including cardiovascular disease.

    For instance, inflammation can make your blood clot -- something that also happens when you get sick with a cold.

    And when your blood is too thick -- or has clumped together into clots -- it can't flow as well through your body and can't deliver oxygen and nutrients to all the parts that need them, including your heart.

    But what's more, that infection can introduce toxins into your body that can damage your blood vessels. And if your blood isn't flowing as it should be, it can't clear them out as quickly as you may need.

    So, just because the mercury's rising doesn't mean you can rest on your laurels when it comes to common-sense cold prevention practices -- especially if you're at risk for heart disease or already have it.

    First and foremost, wash your hands with plain ol' soap and water frequently to get rid of any viruses you may have picked up from shared surfaces, objects, or other people.

    But don't stop there. You'll want to also:

    • Get plenty of sleep.
    • Minimize your intake of sugar, which can cause inflammation and hinder your immune response.
    • Ramp up the probiotics to give the "good bugs" in your belly that support immunity an extra boost.
    • Load up on vitamins C and D, two of the best immune boosters out there. Your best sources are supplements, as well as eating citrus and soaking in some rays.

    At the first sign of symptoms, you can also supplement with elderberry extract or Echinacea to kick your immune system into high gear.

  2. The flu that wasn't

    When did we become such big babies?

    Every little sneeze and sniffle has turned into a big drama -- and now, just about everyone who gets sick assumes they have the flu.

    Maybe they just want more sympathy, or at least an excuse to miss work -- but whatever the reason, most people who THINK they have the flu really DON'T... and if you catch a bug this winter yourself, odds are it won't be the flu for you, either.

    The CDC accidentally confirmed that most winter illnesses blamed on the flu are really just run-of-the-mill colds: Of the 24,027 suspected flu specimens tested in 30 states in October and November, just 266 turned out to be the actual flu.

    The rest? A case of the nothings.

    The feds of course are praising the flu shot. See? The vaccine works -- only 266 people got the flu.

    Just one problem: The agency also admitted that nearly two-thirds of us are unvaccinated this year.


    But let's turn those numbers around and find out what they REALLY mean: While only 266 people had the flu, 23,761 people were sick enough to visit a doctor and get tested.

    All they had was a cold -- maybe a bad one, but still just a cold -- and not even a 100 percent flu vaccination rate would have prevented a single one of those illnesses.

    So forget flu shots and remember what mom told you instead -- wash your hands. Throw in some immune-boosting nutrients such as vitamins C and D and the mineral zinc, and you'll be protected against every illness-causing germ, all year 'round.

  3. Zinc beats the cold

    Zinc can shorten the length of the cold, lessen the symptoms and severity, and even help you avoid getting sick in the first place.

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