Pragma Synesi – interesting bits

Compendium of interesting bits I come across, with an occasional IMHO

Don’t take pills to reduce your fever

I already knew that your body’ chemical reactions work best at 37 C; temperature above that slows processes down, including viral and bacterial reproduction.  So when you take fever reducing drugs, you are actually increasing the viral/bacterial load in your body, making your immune system work harder to fight off the infection.  The article below points out that the fever reduction affects not just yourself, but everyone around you, as you have more infectious agents to spread around.

Spread of flu linked to fever med­i­ca­tions

KELLY GRANT HEALTH RE­PORTER | The Globe and Mail Metro | January 22, 2014

Pop­ping a pill to sup­press your fever could make flu sea­son worse for ev­ery­body, ac­cord­ing to a new Cana­dian study that es­ti­mates fever-re­duc­ing drugs lead to more than a thou­sand in­fluenza deaths across North Amer­ica ev­ery year.

“Peo­ple don’t re­al­ize that when they take drugs to make them­selves feel bet­ter when they have in­fluenza they might ac­tu­ally be­come more in­fec­tious and as a re­sult end up in­fect­ing more peo­ple,” said McMaster Univer­sity math­e­mat­ics pro­fes­sor David Earn, lead au­thor of a pa­per pub­lished Tues­day in Pro­ceed­ings of the Royal So­ci­ety B.

Spik­ing a tem­per­a­ture is one of the ways the hu­man body com­bats a virus. When sick peo­ple use med­i­ca­tions such as ibupro­fen or ac­etaminophen to bring down a fever, they in­ad­ver­tently bring down their de­fences against the flu. The re­sult? More virus in the body and a higher like­li­hood of spread­ing in­fluenza.

Dr. Earn and his co-au­thors looked at past stud­ies on hu­man vol­un­teers and fer­rets – the best an­i­mal prox­ies for flu re­search – and then used a math­e­mat­i­cal for­mula to con­clude that fever-re­duc­ing drugs may lead to tens of thou­sands of ex­tra cases of in­fluenza and more than 1,000 flu deaths across North Amer­ica ev­ery year.

Dr. Earn, who is also an in­ves­ti­ga­tor at McMaster’s Michael G. DeG­roote In­sti­tute for In­fec­tious Disease Re­search, called those fig­ures con­ser­va­tive.

For ex­am­ple, he and his co-au­thors did not have the data to take into ac­count how sick peo­ple be­have af­ter their fevers come down.

If they feel bet­ter, they are like­lier to get out of bed and give their fam­ily and friends the flu, Dr. Earn said.

He is urg­ing Cana­di­ans not to make that mis­take this flu sea­son. “Don’t go to work or school be­cause you feel bet­ter af­ter you took the med­i­ca­tion. Stay home.”

© Copyright The Globe and Mail Inc. All Rights Reserved


January 28, 2014 - Posted by | health | , , ,

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