facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Fever-reducing medication can amplify flu spread

While the use of such medication is recommended by physicians, a fever is helpful in reducing the amount of virus in the body, thereby reducing the chances of infecting others.
Posted By Ananth Baliga   |   Jan. 22, 2014 at 3:31 PM   |   Comments

http://cdnph.upi.com/sv/em/i/UPI-1001390422703/2014/1/13904238007817/Fever-reducing-medication-can-amplify-flu-spread.jpg
Jan. 22 (UPI) -- Widespread use of fever medication may make you feel better, but it is increases the possibility of infecting others with the flu, possibly doing more harm than good.

A fever is the body's response to an infection and helps kill viruses. Taking drugs that contain ibuprofen, acetaminophen and acetylsalicylic acid to reduce a fever increases the chances of infecting others.

“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 David Earn, professor of mathematics at McMaster University.

The findings of the study, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, show that when scaling up this increased transmission to the whole population, it could lead to a five percent increase -- or 1,000 additional deaths -- during a normal flu season in the U.S.

Scientists used a mathematical model to simulate how many additional people would be infected by a person taking fever-reduction medication. They supplemented this model with actual tests on humans and ferrets, which are the best animal model for human influenza.

“Parents and health care professionals alike have focused on making their children or patients feel better by reducing fever, without being aware of potentially harmful side effects at the population level," said study co-author Ben Bolker.

Although researchers say they have generated the best available estimates for this effect, a lot more data would be required to influence health policy.

“We need more experiments to determine precisely how much reducing fever increases viral shedding in humans, and to estimate how much more people spread disease because they are more active in the community when they alleviate their symptoms by taking medication," he added.


[McMaster University]
[Proceedings of the Royal Society B]

Follow @antbaliga and @UPI on Twitter.
Contact the Author
© 2014 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Why the fake braces trend may be dangerous for users Why the fake braces trend may be dangerous for users
2
Jared Leto 'stopped eating' for his 'Dallas Buyer's Club' role Jared Leto 'stopped eating' for his 'Dallas Buyer's Club' role
3
Gisele Bundchen, Tom Brady drop $14M on Manhattan home Gisele Bundchen, Tom Brady drop $14M on Manhattan home
4
Kelly LeBrock arrested for DUI Kelly LeBrock arrested for DUI
5
Brandi Brandt faces drug charges in Australia Brandi Brandt faces drug charges in Australia
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback