- By Laurel Kelly
Consumer Health: What is the flu?
What is the flu?
The flu, or influenza, is a viral infection that attacks your respiratory system — your nose, throat and lungs. It's not the same as stomach "flu" viruses that cause diarrhea and vomiting. Initially, the flu may seem like a common cold with a runny nose, sneezing and sore throat. While colds usually develop slowly, the flu tends to come on suddenly. And although a cold can be a nuisance, you usually feel much worse with the flu. Other common signs and symptoms of the flu include fever over 100.4 F (38 C), aching muscles, headache and fatigue. For most people, the flu resolves on its own. But, sometimes, the flu and its complications can be deadly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends annual flu vaccination for everyone 6 months or older. Learn more about the flu, and consider getting your flu shot, if you haven't already.
Also in today's tips ...
Understanding minimally invasive heart surgery
In minimally invasive heart surgery, cardiac surgeons perform heart surgery through small incisions in the right side of your chest. This alternative to open-heart surgery usually results in less pain and a quicker recovery. It isn't an option for everyone, but it can offer potential benefits in those for whom it's appropriate. Learn more about minimally invasive heart surgery, the types of heart procedures for which it's used and what you can expect during the procedure.
Slideshow: Guide to a high-fiber diet
There are many benefits of eating a high-fiber diet, including normalizing bowel movements, helping maintain bowel health, lowering blood cholesterol levels and controlling blood sugar levels. A high-fiber diet also may help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Here are some easy ideas for adding fiber to your meals.
Service dogs assist with diabetes care
Diabetes alert dogs are trained to detect hypoglycemia and prompt you to treat it while you're still alert enough to do so. In a small survey, diabetes alert dog owners report improvement in their blood sugar control and quality of life. Learn more from Sara J. Carlson, a Mayo Clinic nurse and certified diabetes educator.
Coping with antidepressant side effects
Antidepressants can cause unpleasant side effects, including nausea, weight gain, sexual dysfunction and sleep problems. For many people, these side effects improve within weeks of starting an antidepressant. In some cases, however, antidepressants cause side effects that don't go away. Consider these strategies for coping with antidepressant side effects.