Fever-reducing medications may aid spread of influenza


This is no surprise whatever, and entirely predictable. If a single mom risks unemployment by staying home when she or her children are sick, she is going to do whatever it takes to get to work. It’s not that she doesn’t know she might be putting other people at risk per se, it’s that she can’t afford to think about others who might be hurt. It’s only when the basic needs are taken care of in Maslow’s hierarchy — food, shelter, safety — that things like caring for others can take precedence.

THE OUTBREAK

Hamilton, ON (Jan. 21, 2014) — Contrary to popular belief, fever-reducing medication may inadvertently cause more harm than good.

New research from McMaster University has discovered that the widespread use of medications that contain fever-reducing drugs may lead to tens of thousands more influenza cases, and more than a thousand deaths attributable to influenza, each year across North America. These drugs include ibuprofen, acetaminophen and acetylsalicylic acid.

“When they have flu, people often take medication that reduces their fever. No-one likes to feel miserable, but it turns out that our comfort might be at the cost of infecting others,” said lead author David Earn, an investigator with the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research (IIDR) and professor of mathematics at McMaster University.

“Because fever can actually help lower the amount of virus in a sick person’s body and reduce the chance of transmitting disease to others, taking drugs…

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