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Canadian Report Concludes that Fever-Reducing Drugs Increase Spread of Flu

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Canadian Report Concludes that Fever-Reducing Drugs Increase Spread of Flu

[caption id="attachment_78255" align="aligncenter" width="635"]Canadian Report Concludes that Fever-Reducing Drugs Increase Spread of Flu Canadian Report Concludes that Fever-Reducing Drugs Increase Spread of Flu[/caption]Report Concludes that Fever-Reducing Drugs Increase Spread of Flu

In a report published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, a scientific journal carrying an impressive impact factor of 2,378, concludes that taking fever-reducing drugs increases the spread of the influenza virus.

"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 that reduce fever can increase transmission," said lead researcher David Earn, a professor of infectious disease and mathematics.

According to David Earn, the reports lead researcher and expert in infectious diseases, the process quite simple. Fever-reducing drugs such as acetaminophen, acetylsalicylic acid, and ibuprofen, which are found in over-the-counter medicines, suppress one of the body's key tools to extricate viruses from the body: fever. It is true that lowering a fever brings that person relief, but it also results in a higher virus count in their body and increases the chances they'll spread the flu to another person.

"We put together a chain — how many people have influenza, how many of them take these anti-fever drugs, how much does that increase the amount of virus they give off, how much does that increase the chance that they’re going to affect somebody else, how much does that increase the overall size of the seasonal flu epidemic," said Ben Bolker, professor of math and biology.

"When you put all those numbers together, the answer you get is it increases the size of the annual influenza epidemic by about five per cent."

The model set up by researchers suggests that as many as 5% of influenza cases could be reduced annually if people simply remained home while sick. In the United States, 40 million people get the flu annually. A mere reduction of 5% would result in two million fewer cases. The research also suggests that 1,000 lives could be saved annually in Canada and the United States by people letting the body fight off the flu as nature intended.

on the web:
Fever-reducing meds encourage spread of flu: McMaster report
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/news/fever-reducing-meds-encourage-spread-of-flu-mcmaster-report-1.2505505

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