Skip to main content

Flu Medicines Can Increase Spread of the Virus

flu
Got the flu? Think twice before you pop a pill to feel better.
Most over-the-counter flu medications include a fever-reducing ingredient such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. But suppressing fever, according to new research, actually increases the number of seasonal flu cases by at least 5 percent in the U.S., and could cause as many as 1,000 additional deaths from influenza nationally each year.



Fever Defense:
Fever acts as a kind of defense mechanism for our bodies. The normal human temperature creates a cozy environment perfect for many microbes, including the influenza family of viruses, to live and replicate. As our body temperature rises with a fever, however, the viruses replicate less efficiently. Fewer viruses in the body mean a lower risk of transmitting the pathogen to other people.
Reducing a fever has the opposite effect, allowing the virus to replicate freely and possibly for a longer period, which increases the risk of infecting others. But that’s only half the story: Since the infected person probably feels better (or at least a little less miserable), he’s more likely to go to work or school, coming into contact with many more people.

Flu Transmission:
Researchers gathered information about influenza transmission for both humans and ferrets, which are the animal model of choice to study how the virus might work in us. Using statistical analysis of the data, they determined that widespread use of fever-reducing medication actually increased the number of cases of seasonal flu in the United States by 5 percent. According to a 2009 study, the infamous 1918 influenza pandemic may have been worsened, in fact, by widespread use of aspirin, another fever suppressant.
The latest findings, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, come in the thick of flu season for North America and during a spike in China of new cases of H7N9, one of influenza newer and more deadly strains.
-Written by Devesh Chaudhari



News Source & reference:
blogs.discovermagazine.com

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Science of Sleep

We spend a third of our lives doing it. Napoleon, Florence Nightingale and Margaret Thatcher got by on four hours a night. Thomas Edison claimed it was waste of time. Why do we sleep? So why do we sleep? This is a question that has baffled scientists for centuries and the answer is, no one is really sure. Some believe that sleep gives the body a chance to recuperate from the day's activities but in reality, the amount of energy saved by sleeping for even eight hours is miniscule - about 50 kCal, the same amount of energy in a piece of toast.

Alien Hand Syndrome (AHS)

Alien hand syndrome, (AHS) is a rare neurological disorder that causes hand movement without the person being aware of what is happening or having control over the action. The afflicted person may sometimes reach for objects and manipulate them without wanting to do so, even to the point of having to use the healthy hand to restrain the alien hand. Patient suffering from AHS feels that one's hand is possessed by a force outside of ones control and feels sensation in the affected hand but thinks that the hand is not part of their body and that they have no control over its movement, that it belongs to an alien. Hence, syndrome is name as Alien hand syndrome. The first case of AHS was reported 1908 in German by the preeminent German psychiatrist, Kurt Goldstein. Goldstein described a right-handed woman who had suffered a stroke affecting her left side from which she had partially recovered by the time she was seen. However, her left arm seemed as though it belonged to another p

Sleep deprivation can cause schizophrenia like symptoms

Sleep deprivation can cause schizophrenia like symptoms Twenty-four hours of sleep deprivation can lead to conditions similar to the symptoms of schizophrenia in healthy persons, a new study has found. A team led by researchers from the University of Bonn in Germany and King’s College London said that after 24 hours of sleep deprivation in healthy patients, numerous symptoms were noted which are otherwise typically attributed to psychosis or schizophrenia . “It was clear to us that a sleepless night leads to impairment in the ability to concentrate,” said Professor Dr Ulrich Ettinger of the Cognitive