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The dangers of being “tough as nails” during flu season
Are you one of those people that soldiers on when you’ve got “a cold”. You could take the day off, BUT, you don’t……………because you are TOUGH.
Despite the fact that you feel pretty close to death warmed up, you show up, for work.
Reasons to go to work when sick
What motivates you to get out of your pyjamas………
- Maybe you see sickness as weakness, and you are not WEAK
- Maybe you see yourself as indispensable i.e. the place will fall apart without you
- Maybe you’re just looking for sympathy
- Maybe you want to be seen as a martyr or
- Maybe you’re afraid your boss will fire you
Whatever your motivation…….. showing up typically requires dosing up.
A spoonful of medicine
You dose up with a fever lowering medication – an antipyretic in pharmacological speak, a pain killer, in colloquial speak.
The actual drug you choose is a matter of choice.
Your favourite fever reducing med
My “fix” would be two double strength Dispirin (salicylic acid).
This fixes everything……. admittedly it could blow a hole in the stomach lining, but it knocks flu symptoms flat. This power package is a no no for kids, aspirin is not recommended to treat fever in kids, so Panado (acetinomorphen) is the choice in most households.
The meds all do the same thing.
They adjust your body’s thermostat, so that it stops shooting for hot…..
This little move, does undermine the immune system, you see, the heat was deliberately turned up, because hot is unpleasant…… for bugs. The immune system is well aware that hot is unpleasant for you too, but the body is at war.
Strategic hot…. wins wars.
Cool feels better but
So when you take the drug – you FEEL better.
But, the unintended consequence of the temperature repositioning, is the bugs get handed a slight advantage.
One way this advantage plays out…… there are more bugs in circulation.
Yours and the air around you.
A numbers game
Since “catching” a cold is a numbers game, this puts the people around you, at a distinct disadvantage. As you cough and splutter your way through “business as usual”, the air around you consists of a cloud of germs.
Friends, family, colleagues enter this germ laden space and…….
The germs find a fresh pair of lungs to invade.
You have become a lethal weapon.
The lethal weapons among us
A group of researchers from McMaster University did the maths….. they used data from experiments with people and ferrets, to calculate the impact of fever-reducing drugs on flu season.
The data suggests, people swallowing fever-reducing drugs, are causing tens of thousands of influenza cases, every year. Probably at least 5 % of cases are caused by “the tough”, going about their business. And since influenza can be a disaster, especially in the elderly, pregnant women and kids, some of these cases, end up being fatal.
Feel the fever (sometimes)
Standard medical advice, suggests at the first sign of temperature trouble, you should reach for a fever reducing medication.
It is harmless….
Hang on a minute, fever is part of your body’s defence mechanisms !
Interfering with the process, may not be completely harmless.
Don’t be so quick to squish that fever, with a fever reducing drug, doing so, can give invading bugs an advantage.
Boiling over is dangerous
That said, too much fever, can be dangerous, especially for little ones – so fever reducing drugs, definitely have a place in the household pharmacy cabinet.
Just reserve their use, for when the fever has become the threat.
Don’t use fever reducing drugs to carry on “business as usual” – you’re disadvantaging your immune system, allowing more bugs to circulate.
More bugs. More mischief. More victims.
The lungs are equipped to handle potential intruders, the fumigation process depends on getting enough of the sunshine vitamin….
Apes, monkeys and humans all use a vitamin D bug spray to keep their airways free of germs so don’t monkey around load up with vitamin D to beat colds and flu
Your immune system is taking one look at the display of germ spewing humans and quite literally freaking out, which leaves you better prepared for an invasion.