When you notice something amiss—a cough that won’t quit, sudden dandruff—you may run right to the computer to look up what could be going on. A recent survey found that 35% of Americans have used the Internet to self-diagnose a medical issue. Before you panic, discuss the online info with your doctor. And remember that some easy-to-detect signs call your attention to bigger problems at hand so you can address them on your own. Here, six common symptoms, why they happen and what you should do about them.
1. You pop mints hourly to hide your bad breath.
YOUR BODY IS HINTING: You have an allergy. Some allergies cause a nasal drip, which can lead to not-so-fresh breath.
Do this: Brush your tongue with a soft-bristled toothbrush to remove odor-causing compounds. Avoid toothpaste containing sodium lauryl sulfate, a common ingredient that can be drying (saliva helps wash away food particles).
Do this: Ask your doc for a referral to an allergist who can test you.
2. You have a nagging headache.
YOUR BODY IS HINTING: Time to go for a walk. Exercise boosts blood flow to carry oxygen throughout your body. If you're not active enough, your brain isn't receiving as much O2 as it could—which can cause headaches. Recent research found that inactive people were more likely to experience headaches than those who worked out.
Do this: Take a 10-minute walk, alternating 3 minutes of brisk walking with 1 minute of strolling. Short amounts of activity can help increase blood flow to your brain, and exercise works even better when it raises your heart rate.
Do this: See your primary care doctor if the throbbing pain doesn't subside after a day or two to find out if you have a migraine headache. If your pain is very severe and came on suddenly, seek immediate care.
3. You have a cough, but it's not a cold.
YOUR BODY IS HINTING: Your stomach is off. A dry cough that lasts eight weeks or longer without typical cold symptoms could be due to acid reflux, which happens when acid from your stomach splashes back up into your esophagus and irritates your throat.
Do this: Chew sugar-free gum to increase the production of saliva, which can help neutralize acid that comes back up.
Do this: Eat small meals so your stomach doesn't become overstuffed, which can push acid upward.
Click here for more common causes of health symptoms from Woman's Day.
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