Fever, although very unpleasant , can actually be beneficial. This symptom may decrease the amount of virus in the body when we are sick , because the virus replication capacity decreases when body temperature is higher , plus fever helps our immune system to function better.
A group of researchers from Ontario , Canada, have used mathematical models to assess the effects of widespread use of treatments for fever. They found that in a typical flu season, the use of antipyretics such as ibuprofen or paracetamol can cause tens of thousands of additional cases of influenza.
" When you have flu , we usually take medication to reduce fever. Nobody we like to feel terrible, but it turns out that our relief may be at the expense of infecting others , "according to David Earn , professor of mathematics at McMaster University in Ontario , Canada.
" Because fever can help reduce the amount of virus in the body of a sick person , thereby reducing the possibility of transmitting the disease to others , taking drugs that reduce fever may increase transmission ," said Win
"People are often advised to take fever medicine and medical textbooks confirm that doing so is harmless ," said Paul Andrews , a researcher at the Department of Psychology , Neuroscience and Behaviour at McMaster University . "This kind of view has to change. "
The research results suggest that treating fever in cases of seasonal flu, can cause an increase of 5 percent in the number of flu patients and deaths from it. This would correspond to an additional 1,000 deaths from flu in a typical year in the U.S. , according to the study .
In general , we usually take, or give our children , medicines for fever and so they can go to school or to work in our case . Many times we think that the risk of infecting others diminished by not having fever, when , what usually happens is just the opposite , being able to release more virus precisely because we have lowered the fever.
Photography by Sento Segarra with Samsung Galaxy II