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Fighting the Flu May Hurt Those Around You

Unknown Lamer posted about 10 months ago | from the suffer-for-the-good-of-society dept.

Medicine 351

sciencehabit writes "When you've got the flu, it can't hurt to take an aspirin or an ibuprofen to control the fever and make you feel better, right? Wrong, some scientists say. Lowering your body temperature may make the virus replicate faster and increase the risk that you transmit it to others. A new study claims that there are at least 700 extra influenza deaths in the United States every year because people suppress their fever."

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So... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46035051)

You're fucked, but I feel better?

Dude, you are so fucked!

Re:So... (2, Insightful)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about 10 months ago | (#46035159)

No. You're fucked, because you took drugs to feel better.

You may be more contageous because of the bugs replicating, but the real problem is the huge number of them flooding and overwhelming your own system.

Re:So... (2, Interesting)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about 10 months ago | (#46035539)

If the article is saying that taking these drugs perks the bug up as much as it does you perhaps the easy way to make it stop being contagious is to smoke some weed

Re:So... (1)

ThatsDrDangerToYou (3480047) | about 10 months ago | (#46035667)

If the article is saying that taking these drugs perks the bug up as much as it does you perhaps the easy way to make it stop being contagious is to smoke some weed

You may still have a fever, but it will be an *awesome* fever!

Re:So... (5, Interesting)

clemdoc (624639) | about 10 months ago | (#46035559)

When you're sick enough to (feel you) need medication, stay at home.
Don't spread germs all over the workplace / auditorium / public mass transport.

Tragedy Of The Commons (0)

milage (881680) | about 10 months ago | (#46035661)

Tragedy Of The Commons [wikipedia.org]

Re:So... (1)

the_bard17 (626642) | about 10 months ago | (#46035769)

I've been diagnosed Type 1 Brugada's Syndrome (http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/163751-overview [medscape.com] , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brugada_syndrome [wikipedia.org] ). In my case, the trigger is a high fever, which was brought on by the flu.

I don't have much sympathy for the rest of the world if I get sick and become feverish. I'll take my aspirin and avoid cardiac arrest, thank you very much. Selfish, maybe. I'm not quite ready to find out what's on the other side of that line.

Those poor folk that have the spontaneously triggered type of Brugada's have my sympathy instead. Just dropping dead spontaneously isn't my preferred way to go.

human germs don't like higher body temp (5, Interesting)

alen (225700) | about 10 months ago | (#46035077)

read about it in the last few years after one of my kids had an almost 105 fever one week
human pathogens like the 98.6 body temp and a fever is the body's natural way of fighting these pathogens
the flu virus also likes low humidity which is why people buy humidifiers in the winter time

unless my kid has some crazy high fever i try to avoid giving him tylenol or some other fever reducer as long as possible. usually until its almost time for bed

Re:human germs don't like higher body temp (2)

Trepidity (597) | about 10 months ago | (#46035139)

Afaik whether raising the body temperature in humans is effective at fighting infection by killing temperature-sensitive bacteria still isn't well established, but there's an interesting example in bees that is pretty well established, at least if you treat the bee colony as a whole as a macroorganism capable of developing a "fever": pdf link [tufts.edu] .

Re:human germs don't like higher body temp (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46035227)

It's not the temperature that kills the bacteria but rather the increased activity of white blood cells inside your body that produces the increase in temperature.

Re:human germs don't like higher body temp (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46035293)

No it isn't.

The body resets it's internal thermostat to accept higher temperature. Whether it is effective is beside the point, but it's absolutely not just an accidental side effect of immune activity.

Re:human germs don't like higher body temp (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 10 months ago | (#46035247)

Don't look at me! I'm just an anecdote!

As a child, I was sick all the time. My mother did all of the usual [conventional] things. I was highly sensitive to allergens and all sorts of things. Someone suggested I give up milk and make some other changes including reducing the reliance on common medications (aspirin, tylenol, etc) and some healthful dietary changes. Since then I get sick very rarely. Very rarely. It was some 15+ years ago when I last had the flu and I decided to sweat it out or die trying. I didn't die. I also haven't been sick for any amount of time longer than 18 hours. Sleeping it off is usually all I ever need.

But the practice of sweating a fever out works quite well for me.

Re:human germs don't like higher body temp (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 10 months ago | (#46035689)

Afaik whether raising the body temperature in humans is effective at fighting infection by killing temperature-sensitive bacteria still isn't well established
Then you know wrong. It is well 'established' since a hundret years at least.

Re:human germs don't like higher body temp (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 10 months ago | (#46035149)

"Germs" typically refers to living things. Influenza is a virus.

Re:human germs don't like higher body temp (2)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 10 months ago | (#46035341)

"Germs" typically refers to living things. Influenza is a virus.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/germ [thefreedictionary.com] http://www.thefreedictionary.c... [thefreedictionary.com]

germ (jurm)

A microscopic organism or agent, especially one that is pathogenic, such as a bacterium or virus.

Usage The terms germ and microbe have been used to refer to invisible agents of disease since the nineteenth century, when scientists introduced the germ theory of disease, the idea that infections and contagious diseases are caused by microorganisms. Microbe, a shortening and alteration of microorganism, comes from the Greek prefix mikro-, "small," and the word bios, "life." Scientists no longer use the terms germ and microbe very much. Today they can usually identify the specific agents of disease, such as individual species of bacteria or viruses. To refer generally to agents of disease, they use the term pathogen, from the Greek pathos, "suffering," and the suffix -gen, "producer." They use microorganism to refer to any unicellular organism, whether disease-causing or not.

The American Heritage Science Dictionary Copyright 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Re:human germs don't like higher body temp (4, Funny)

zmooc (33175) | about 10 months ago | (#46035225)

In Europe we call temperatures of more than 100 boiling, not fever. I'm surprised your kid lasted a week.

Re:human germs don't like higher body temp (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46035435)

Yeah, not even goulash meat is boiled for a whole week must have tasted horrible.

Re:human germs don't like higher body temp (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46035563)

That's nothing. Anything bellow is 10000 [dwarffortresswiki.org] is freezing to dwarven physicists.

Re:human germs don't like higher body temp (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46035363)

I prefer to do the same thing. A 102 temp is a healthy/natural response to an infection. Giving them a fever reducer only prolongs the process. My mother-in-law hates when I do this.

Re:human germs don't like higher body temp (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46035453)

I'll disagree. If your temp goes over 101 and you don't know EXACTLY why and are 100% sure you will be ok, go to the hospital immediately. There is a good chance it is something that will kill you, also a chance it is just a flu and will go away.

I took a chemotherapy that gave me fevers into the 103.5 range frequently and that was the advice I was given. As for the kid with a 105 for a week, I seriously doubt that happened and really hope he spent that week in the ICU.

Fevers are typically your immune system fighting an infection, and at over 101 it is losing. My chemo was intended to increase my immune system so fevers were expected.

Re:human germs don't like higher body temp (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46035669)

You were given that advice because you were on chemotherapy and had a higher than normal risk of overwhelming bacterial infection. Furthermore, most chemotherapeutic agents screw up the brain thermostat system.

MOST people don't need to go see a doctor (or anybody else for that matter) with such a fever.

They should just stay home.

Re:human germs don't like higher body temp (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46035623)

102 F maybe a normal response to an infection, but its not healthy, especially for your brain.

If someone shows a temp of 102 I would be putting a cold washcloth on their forehead, and calling the RN

Disclaimer I am only a CNA

Re:human germs don't like higher body temp (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 10 months ago | (#46035493)

read about it in the last few years after one of my kids had an almost 105 fever one week human pathogens like the 98.6 body temp and a fever is the body's natural way of fighting these pathogens

This has been known for some time. Although, 98.6 is not an exact temperature. That's the average for most people. Some run a little higher/lower than that. I remember when my sister was young, her normal temperature was right around 100. She once had a fever of 108 when she got sick. That was a fun trip to the hospital. Anyhow, yes, the higher temperatures are meant to kill and slow down the reproduction of infections. It is also very hard on your brain for extended periods of time. The idea being that you as a more complex organism can deal with the higher temperatures longer than the infection can.

the flu virus also likes low humidity which is why people buy humidifiers in the winter time

Not sure about this one. It has more to do with making it easier to breath. I've also theorized that it may help to keep you from getting sick. Your body produces mucus as a defense from infections taking hold. If the air is too dry, you tend to have a lot less mucus lining your throat and nasal passages. It's also why nose bleeds are more common in dryer air. I can't say I've looked into it, so I am likely to be incorrect.

unless my kid has some crazy high fever i try to avoid giving him tylenol or some other fever reducer as long as possible. usually until its almost time for bed

. Agreed.

Re:human germs don't like higher body temp (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46035719)

I though everyone would know the reasons behind a fever.
Also when you're sick with fever you're supposed to get in bed and keep warm and hydrated.
You can cool the head, since you don't want the brain to get too hot.

As someone who doesn't believe in doctors this is what I do.

Re:human germs don't like higher body temp (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 10 months ago | (#46035509)

I expected this would be the case. Fevers are a way to fight the infection. So drugs to lower our fever would hinder our ability to fight the infection.
That said, if the body is fighting too hard, it might hurt itself more with a fever that is too high, so you are better off taking the drug and being contagious longer.

However there is also a tolerance to feeling bad, too. Is feeling slightly less crummy for longer, better than feeling really crummy for less time.

Re:human germs don't like higher body temp (1)

Lazere (2809091) | about 10 months ago | (#46035735)

However there is also a tolerance to feeling bad, too. Is feeling slightly less crummy for longer, better than feeling really crummy for less time.

You did see the part about the deaths, right? With reducing fever increasing the virus' reproduction, it could prolong it, or it could give the virus the advantage it needs to take you out...

Re:human germs don't like higher body temp (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 10 months ago | (#46035673)

the flu virus also likes low humidity
That is nonsense.
Low humidity makes your mucous membranes in your mouth, throat and nose easier to penetrate for viruses, thats all.
In fact low humidity "outside" is pretty bad for the virus, it dies pretty fast when the sneez it is in is dehydrating.
There is a reason why people in rainy wet cities are more ill than those in -20 degress rural areas.

Re:human germs don't like higher body temp (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46035693)

Having a fever is a warning sign, if you want to fight the flu your best bet is to drink plenty of fluids and wrap of blankets around you to raise your core temperature.
You going to say that having a fever from an infection is going to help fight of an infection? No they give you antibiotics... And allowing a fever to get beyond a certain point only will cause brain damage, and possible organ damage, especially in children.

This study makes little sense, your core temp is what you want to keep up. And if you cannot take off of work or lie around for a few days sweating it out then worrying about a keeping your fever is the least of your concerns.

What are they going to say next? When you break a bone, or cause your body to have pain its going to help the bone/wound heal faster?

I'm not going to blow this article off, because despite advances in medical science when it comes to certain things, there still way off on understanding all the mechanics of the human body, so this is very much study is very possible.

I've always wondered that about antihistamines too (2)

Trepidity (597) | about 10 months ago | (#46035085)

The histamine response [wikipedia.org] has an actual infection-fighting purpose, so even though it also produces inconvenient/unpleasant side effects (runny nose, sneezing, etc.), it seems like it might not always be a good idea to suppress it.

Re:I've always wondered that about antihistamines (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 10 months ago | (#46035121)

Yes, but sometimes it's over responsive. In this case, allergies. The only true long-term healthy solution to allergies is to physically move somewhere else; even if that means another city/state/country.

Re:I've always wondered that about antihistamines (5, Interesting)

SailorSpork (1080153) | about 10 months ago | (#46035153)

Yes, but sometimes it's over responsive. In this case, allergies. The only true long-term healthy solution to allergies is to physically move somewhere else; even if that means another city/state/country.

Or allergy tolerance shots. I get injected every week with a dose of what I am allergic to, in order to slowly build up my allergen tolerance and lower the amount of drugs I need to control my symptoms. It's to the point where I can now have pets!

Re:I've always wondered that about antihistamines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46035301)

yep, this worked for me. I had bad allergies at a child but they became very mild by the time I was in college.

Re:I've always wondered that about antihistamines (2, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 10 months ago | (#46035219)

Exactly. For example, if you have a cold, the best medicine is Benadryl. Most of the symptoms of the cold are just an over reaction of your bodies imune system and you're basically having an allergic reaction to the virus. All the other over the counter cold medicines don't work very well and usually get you high as a kite. But the Benadryl almost always clears up my symptoms with nothing more than a little drowsiness.

Re:I've always wondered that about antihistamines (3, Insightful)

Sique (173459) | about 10 months ago | (#46035373)

Actually, it's not an allergic reaction on the virus. Allergic is a reaction if the target would be harmless to the body. But a virus is not, and the reaction is actually necessary. Suppressing the reaction thus means the virus is not attacked at all, or at least it is attacked with a reduced intensity. So while you might feel better with Benadryl, in fact you are in the same camp like the people who suppress the fever -- being sick longer, being contagious longer, and thus prolonging the flu waves.

Re:I've always wondered that about antihistamines (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 10 months ago | (#46035781)

This article is brought to you by Benadryl, American's number one cold medication!

Seriously though it's not that brilliant, just the best that they trust you with.

Re:I've always wondered that about antihistamines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46035241)

The only true long-term healthy solution to allergies is to physically move somewhere else; even if that means another city/state/country.

If you cannot train your immune system properly for the environment you live in, yes. However, depending on the source of your allergies, it can be very easy to tame them. If it is a pollen allergy, buy locally grown honey and have a spoonful with breakfast. Some people with dander allergies have them corrected within a week of getting a cat.

For some people, the solution to allergies is to leave the triggers entirely, but for many the allergies are from transitioning between underexposure and overexposure.

Bees (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46035401)

I have heard this claim repeatedly and no-one has cited any plausible mechanism of action. Bees collect very little wind-borne pollen, the type to which people are typically allergic. Allergens also vary over time of year; there's no guarantee the honey you are eating was produced by bees at the same time that the allergen was present; in fact, it's somewhat unlikely unless you're eating honey that was produced exactly a year ago.

Re:I've always wondered that about antihistamines (4, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | about 10 months ago | (#46035175)

With infections, I've always taken the approach of doing only as much symptom-relief as absolutely for my sanity/productivity/safety. Things like fever and coughing are part of the body's immune response, and letting them do their work will result in a faster recovery, so I'll put up with the discomfort and inconvenience.

Re:I've always wondered that about antihistamines (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 10 months ago | (#46035237)

That's generally my approach also, but it's possible for the response to be worse than the illness in some cases. For example the response to a cold could develop into bronchitis if you get a lot of post-nasal drip into the lungs, which is probably worse than the cold lingering an extra day or two.

Re:I've always wondered that about antihistamines (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 10 months ago | (#46035731)

With an intact cough reflex you can't get post nasal drip in your lungs. The primary reason you get a bronchitis is 1) you didn't have a bronchitis (inflammation of the bronchioles, the larger airways of the lungs, you had a cough because of the drainage 2) the inflammation was viral and the nasty little proteinacous particle managed to scoot past the upper airway defenses or 3) the viral infection compromised the already compromised lining of the bronchioles (smoke, smoke, smoke that cigarette) and allowed a bacterial infection to set up.

So the post nasal drip scenario isn't a good way to look at.

Re:I've always wondered that about antihistamines (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 10 months ago | (#46035619)

Things like fever and coughing are part of the body's immune response, and letting them do their work will result in a faster recovery

Things like coughing, runny nose, and sneezing, are also how your viral infection spreads to other people. Even if you are sick slightly longer, not infecting those around you is still a positive outcome.

Re:I've always wondered that about antihistamines (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 10 months ago | (#46035751)

That's fine as long as you take care to avoid spreading your germs around. I see a lot of people who cough into their hands and then immediately touch things. If it gets really bad take some time off work and stay in bed, recover faster. I know it is hard in the US due to ridiculous rules on sickness, but it's better for everyone in the long run.

Re:I've always wondered that about antihistamines (1)

Njovich (553857) | about 10 months ago | (#46035303)

I brought this up with my physician. Apparently these inconvenient side effects can actually be damaging if you have them long term, while allergens don't cause harm at all (that is the definition of an allergen). Of course, in the case of something that does cause harm, the immune response would be beneficial, but it's hard to tell the difference. In the case of someone with allergies, it's just the fact that in >95% of cases the problem is just allergy and it's beneficial to suppress the reaction.

Nonetheless, you are completely right of course.

Me or them?? (0)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 10 months ago | (#46035087)

Ok, so it is between ME dying of fever, or someone else.

That's a pretty easy choice to make...no?

Fevers don't kill (1, Interesting)

crow (16139) | about 10 months ago | (#46035177)

Fevers don't kill people. The immune system isn't that self-destructive. The fear of fevers is a holdover from pandemics like polio where diseases associated with high fevers could kill or cause brain damage. The fever wasn't what caused the problems, but people didn't know better.

Re:Fevers don't kill (4, Interesting)

geminidomino (614729) | about 10 months ago | (#46035259)

The immune system isn't usually that self-destructive.

Lupus FTFY. (I know, I know. "It's never lupus!")

Re:Fevers don't kill (1)

crow (16139) | about 10 months ago | (#46035417)

Thanks for fixing that for me. Yes, there are plenty of disorders and diseases that involve a misbehaving immune system to the point where it can kill you. A normal fever response, however, isn't one of those.

Re:Fevers don't kill (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about 10 months ago | (#46035597)

No worries. I was just in it for the cheap House reference anyway. ;)

Re:Me or them?? (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about 10 months ago | (#46035213)

If you die from a 99f fever, you best not go outside in the summer. The point is many people suppress almost all fevers and not just the bad ones.

Re:Me or them?? (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 10 months ago | (#46035275)

Ok, so it is between ME dying of fever, or someone else.

That's a pretty easy choice to make...no?

Or you could do the right thing, and be considerate of others. Stay home, if you're sick. Take care of yourself; plus don't share your germs/virii/whatever.

Re:Me or them?? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 10 months ago | (#46035789)

Or you could do the right thing, and be considerate of others. Stay home, if you're sick. Take care of yourself; plus don't share your germs/virii/whatever.

Yes. This. STAY HOME. Only sneeze on people you don't like.

The other problem, not a part of this particular experiment is that for many viral infections (not sure about influenza specifically) you are most contagious just before the outbreak of major symptoms. You don't feel especially well, but you're not really 'sick' so you do go out and mingle with the rest of the world, dropping viral particles on every local surface and setting up a new chain of life for the microscopic annoyance.

News at 11 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46035095)

but its not in the scope of slashdot crowd - so yeah, its probably news

Human nature (1)

ElectraFlarefire (698915) | about 10 months ago | (#46035097)

Like this will make any real difference..
People will do, as a whole, what they can to improve their own lives, regardless of some ethereal suffering of others.

It is however good to know because it'll help develop ways of dealing with this problem.

Probably going out/to work (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46035099)

I think most people use fever lowering drugs to be able to get to work. Best way to infect as many people as you can...

Re:Probably going out/to work (2)

TWX (665546) | about 10 months ago | (#46035123)

Good thing that I got sick over my two weeks off for the winter holidays then!

Re:Probably going out/to work (5, Interesting)

geogob (569250) | about 10 months ago | (#46035283)

This may surprise a lot of people here, but in Germany the general rule is, if you get sick on vacation days and have a medical attestation prooving it, your affected (infected?) vacation days go back in your unused vacation.

Re:Probably going out/to work (5, Informative)

adolf (21054) | about 10 months ago | (#46035671)

This may surprise a lot of people in Germany, but in the US the general rule is, you don't have any vacation days and can't afford to take time off of work to see a doctor.

And if you do take time off of work to get well and figure out how to pay a doctor and any treatment they might suggest, it's entirely possible that, upon attempting to return to work, you find yourself jobless.

Therefore, again generally, we tend to take as many over-the-counter drugs [amazon.com] as we can to begin feeling half-way human so we can keep working every day even if it kills us and those around us (which, according to TFA, it does).

Re:Probably going out/to work (1)

waspleg (316038) | about 10 months ago | (#46035791)

This may surprise a lot of people in Germany, but in the US the general rule is, you don't have any vacation days and can't afford to take time off of work to see a doctor.

And if you do take time off of work to get well and figure out how to pay a doctor and any treatment they might suggest, it's entirely possible that, upon attempting to return to work, you find yourself jobless.

Therefore, again generally, we tend to take as many over-the-counter drugs [amazon.com] as we can to begin feeling half-way human so we can keep working every day even if it kills us and those around us (which, according to TFA, it does).

I wish I had mod points for you. Too bad there is no +5 Insightful/Sad Truth.

Re:Probably going out/to work (2, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 10 months ago | (#46035779)

Funny, in North America, people get so few vacation/sick days that they feel they have to use up all of both. People will often call in sick when they really just want a vacation day. People think it's their duty to use up all their sick days, whether they are actually sick or not. And then they wonder why the quota for sick days is so low....

Re:Probably going out/to work (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about 10 months ago | (#46035269)

Just more evidence that HR drones are actually minions of the evil pathogenic overlords.

Hrrrrr... (2, Informative)

Zantac69 (1331461) | about 10 months ago | (#46035107)

No shit sherlock.

Fever is one of your body's ways to fight infection. When you supress it, you "enable the virus."

But I will take antipyretics when I damn well feel like it. Tough shit if someone else gets sick.

DARWIN, BABY!

Re:Hrrrrr... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46035291)

>But I will take antipyretics when I damn well feel like it. Tough shit if someone else gets sick.

It's interesting that you're so open about being a menace to the rest of us.

Re:Hrrrrr... (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about 10 months ago | (#46035445)

How is an infant getting the flu darwin? It's more about luck at that point. What about elderly? They've already reproduced, there's not evolutionary pressure to increase resistance.

Re:Hrrrrr... (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 10 months ago | (#46035665)

Slave to the prisoner's dilemma are you?

Eschew drugs (1)

Walterk (124748) | about 10 months ago | (#46035117)

As much as I like the occasional aspirin or paracetamol, when I have a cold or similar, I try to make a concious effort to raise my body temperature as much as possible to aid in the virus fighting efforts of my body. Seems to work well whenever I do it, even if it is uncomfortable at times. I try to use drugs only as a last resort.

On the other hand, if the weather gets hot, I've been known to pop an aspirin purely to lower my body temperature so I can be somewhat useful and cope.

That's a laughable risk... (5, Interesting)

Herder Of Code (2989779) | about 10 months ago | (#46035131)

Considering the population of the USA the percentage of the population killed each year by this is 0.00022300095%. On the other hand deaths for the flu have been as low as 3000 yearly so that's 23.3% of deaths. Still, the number of deaths compared to the population makes it comparable to winning the lottery in any case.

Re:That's a laughable risk... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46035203)

Your numbers are way off. It's easily 0.00022300096% of the population.

Re:That's a laughable risk... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46035223)

Try counting lost work hours instead, and multiply by dollars, and you'll get a higher number.

Re:That's a laughable risk... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46035305)

So we need to increase the death rates so that the anti-vaxers all die off, amiright?

Re:That's a laughable risk... (4, Insightful)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 10 months ago | (#46035355)

Considering the population of the USA the percentage of the population killed each year by this is 0.00022300095%. On the other hand deaths for the flu have been as low as 3000 yearly so that's 23.3% of deaths. Still, the number of deaths compared to the population makes it comparable to winning the lottery in any case.

As low as 3000 deaths? If people knew the flu killed 3000 people (in an off year!), we could justify interment camps for infected people and monitor all phone calls to find out who complains of symptoms. We could create a cabinet level government department with a multi-billion-dollar budget just for battling the flu.

Or not. Because the flu generally doesn't also commit spectacular acts of property destruction and it kills its victims quietly in homes and hospital beds with no one to watch or mourn except the victims' actual friends and family.

Re:That's a laughable risk... (2)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 10 months ago | (#46035685)

That's many times the annual US death rate due to terrorism, isn't it?

Headline: "Aspirin: Terrorist Sleeper Attack?"

people will still take drugs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46035173)

And think they work.

Aches & Pains (3, Insightful)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 10 months ago | (#46035179)

I think most people (myself included) take the meds for 'aches and pains' and to sleep. The fever gets suppressed as a byproduct of those meds. If there was some way to take meds to keep the fever without aching joints and a screaming headache that would be fine with me.

Re:Aches & Pains (5, Informative)

swb (14022) | about 10 months ago | (#46035257)

There is. They're called opioids. But taking opioids makes you a dangerous drug addict, so you're not allowed to have them.

I'd suggest a different causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46035197)

If you suppress the symptoms, you're probably going to interact with more people and for a longer time while you're contagious than if you had not suppressed the symptoms and felt miserable enough to stay in bed.

A deal for you! (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 10 months ago | (#46035221)

So you say you'll trade a few moments (in the grand scheme) of personal comfort for the likelihood of extending your own sickness?

I suppose it is then logical to assume increasing the infection rates of others you contact won't keep you up at night, either.

Stay Home (5, Insightful)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 10 months ago | (#46035229)

I'm quite sure the larger contributing factor to the flu spreading is people going to work while sick, not a suppressed fever.

Much better approach would be creating a culture in the USA where its OK to stay home when sick.

But of course we can't do that, because SOCIALISM.

Re:Stay Home (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46035379)

But of course we can't do that, because SOCIALISM.

Agreed, if we could get over this idiotic "from each according to his abilities" aspect in the workplace and simply pay people according to the work they do, this wouldn't be a problem. I've had jobs that paid well enough that I could easily afford to miss work for 2 months out of the year completely, unpaid, and there were periods that such departures wouldn't change the workload at all. However, they had no way to handle leave without pay except to count it against vacation/sick (yeah, consolidated for "convenience") days and then demand overtime to recover the difference.

Re:Stay Home (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46035447)

Actually, you are typically contagious with the flu up to 24 hours BEFORE you develop a fever. People spread the flu more while "feeling normal" than they do while sick.

If we REALLY wanted to stop the flu (nothing is going to stop colds) is to force everyone to get flu shots (and humanely euthanize the ones dumb enough to think that they cause autism!)

Josh

PS Yes, I realize there are people that CAN'T take flu shots due to allergies, compromised immune systems, etc. But if everyone ELSE took it, they'd still be safe since they are such a small % of the population.

Re:Stay Home (4, Insightful)

Spacelem (189863) | about 10 months ago | (#46035523)

Socialism doesn't keep you at work, when you're sick, that's capitalism, with its "performance at the expense of everything else" approach. Or were you being sarcastic? (I can't tell).

Also, socialism provides free medical care to sick people, so they don't just put things off and get worse and worse until eventually they eventually either need an emergency room (at a much higher cost), or spread communicable but treatable diseases like TB. It also makes medicine cheaper because of collective bargaining, rather than allowing each person to try to bargain for something that they can't do without.

Re:Stay Home (0)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 10 months ago | (#46035763)

socialism provides free medical care to sick people,

Interesting that you think of socialized healthcare as "free". Trust me, it's being paid for by everyone (including the one getting the "free" healthcare) - but the costs are hidden in your taxes.

Re:Stay Home (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46035565)

Much better approach would be creating a culture in the USA where its OK to stay home when sick.

But some people use "sick days" as free vacation days and being sick is not really vacation now, is it?

Here in the Philippines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46035245)

It is common knowledge that whenever someone has a fever or flu they wear layers of clothes and/or get under the blankets trying to get some sweat out. We also drink hot milk to help sweating. After a day of rest the person will be able to feel better. Although some may argue that this will will increase the temperature of the brain putting the person in greater risk, a lot of old people still do this because it works. Younger generations now embrace the method of lowering the temperature by butting ice packs. The method was introduced by medical centers here in early 2000. I have tried both methods and one difference is the ice pack method instantly reduces the pain associated with fever/flu. Another thing is I have gone well with the sweating method without taking any medicine but with the ice pack method I had to take some aspirin/paracetamol/ibuprofen.

Re:Here in the Philippines (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 10 months ago | (#46035425)

Younger generations now embrace the method of lowering the temperature by butting ice packs... one difference is the ice pack method instantly reduces the pain associated with fever/flu.

Fever/flu has never induced pain in that region for me.

1 week or 7 days? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46035251)

I read once that you have to get a lot of medicine during one week to kill the virus from your body, or just wait for about seven days. It's the same results!

But nothing sleeping with all of your of blankets to sweat, followed by a nice bath with an everyday hand washing habit and using a surgical mask to work can't help.

In other civilized countries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46035295)

People just take a week or 2 fully paid sick leave.

Re:In other civilized countries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46035423)

Right...and I suppose your next tall tale is gonna be that they also get free health care...

LOL. What about 'vaccinations'... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46035309)

I thought they magically prevented you from getting the 'flu? Or maybe they are just a huge cash cow for pharmaceutical companies...

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1251562/115m-annual-flu-jab-cost-waste-money.html

"The annual £115million cost of giving flu jabs to the elderly may be a complete waste of money, a major review said yesterday.

The injections fail to prevent deaths or provide the expected health benefits, according to researchers.

They analysed data from 75 studies to determine whether vaccination of older people works."

Here's how to fix this... (4, Insightful)

bobbied (2522392) | about 10 months ago | (#46035321)

Here's an idea.. Get sick, stay home! If you wan to medicate at home, knock yourself out. Just don't come to work and avoid going out in public.

Employers should be *actively* looking though their employees and sending home those who are sick. Have a fever? Go home. Don't come back until at least 24 hours w/o a fever. Take your laptop, work from home. Day Care's should have the *same* policy for workers and children, don't come in if you had a fever in the last 24 hours.

I'm serious, this *should* be a matter of law. I know that it won't fix everything, but it sure will slow down a virus if folks would be careful. I live with a person who has a compromised immune system. Getting a virus is a *serious* deal for us and may someday kill them. We have to be extremely careful and I just hate it when I have to deal with people who are obviously ill in public.

Well with my last bout of Flu... (1)

scorp1us (235526) | about 10 months ago | (#46035361)

I got up to 103.1 at which point I figured enough is enough. My mental function was impaired. I brought it back down to 102.5 (with a bath and ibuprofen) where I could think again. But I think letting it get so high helped get rid of it faster instead of my friend (who gave it to me) was constantly medicated and I don't think he ever got above 102.0. He had it for the majority of the week, me, just 3 days.

Sure, letting your fever get up there, but at 103 you get cognitive impairment, 104 you begin to get brain damage, 105 brain damage is happening and 108 is death. So Sure let it get high, but not too high.

Re:Well with my last bout of Flu... (0)

blueg3 (192743) | about 10 months ago | (#46035481)

Sure, letting your fever get up there, but at 103 you get cognitive impairment, 104 you begin to get brain damage, 105 brain damage is happening and 108 is death. So Sure let it get high, but not too high.

No. Children, at least, can tolerate fevers up to 108 without long-term effects.

Don't take medicine for generic sickness (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about 10 months ago | (#46035413)

If you're sick and the doctor hasn't told you to take any medicine then don't take anything! First of all no one should ever take Aspirin or Tylenol, it's a horrible drug, it's destroys your body, second of all, just don't take medicine when you're sick, let your body fight the sickness itself, unless you're told by a medical professional.

Re:Don't take medicine for generic sickness (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46035443)

If you're sick and the doctor hasn't told you to take any medicine then don't take anything! First of all no one should ever take Aspirin or Tylenol, it's a horrible drug, it's destroys your body, second of all, just don't take medicine when you're sick, let your body fight the sickness itself, unless you're told by a medical professional.

Holy chemtrails, Batman! WTF are you talking about?

What is fever ? (2)

dargaud (518470) | about 10 months ago | (#46035419)

Is the fever a side result of the effect of the virus on the organism ? Or is it a way for the organism to fight the virus and eliminate it ? Because we get fevers in most cases of severe infections and I doubt most germs are sensitive to a 3C increase in body temperature... I can still brew beer from anything like 10C to 40C...

Re:What is fever ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46035795)

It's the organism trying to fight the virus (or non-virus of course). Whether it works or not I believe is still debated - the immune system might function better at higher temperature - but the organism is raising its own temperature (as opposed to say hyperthermia in which the organism is failing to regulate the temperature).

A lot of things we do hurt the people around us (1)

Tyr07 (2300912) | about 10 months ago | (#46035441)

Okay, fighting the flu may spread it. So does taking public transportation and being around people in general. Also whenever I buy gas I increase the demand for it assisting in rising costs for others Same thing when I purchase groceries too, what about those poor families? I should buy less groceries so prices may go down a bit. My gas and electric bills have the same effect. When I heat my house it increases a demand for these utilities which means my neighbors Will potentially have to pay more as well due to increase in demand. If it's not dramatically affecting people, I'm going to do things to help me survive, and other people will be affected, just as they affect me

I try to raise my temperature (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46035541)

When I feel "something" coming on I take as hot a bath as I can tolerate for as long as I can tolerate, then quickly dry off, put on sweats and climb under a stack of blankets and sleep (drugs help with the sleep part sometimes).

My feeling is if my body thinks a higher temperature will kill the bad things I'll help as much as I can. The hardest part is finding something hardcopy to read in the tub so i don't risk dropping electronics in the water.

This usually has a positive impact. If not hey, at least I got a hot bath and some sleep.

If someone has to be miserable (1)

uneek (107167) | about 10 months ago | (#46035729)

I would rather it be you than me. I will take the aspirin.

Wrong (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 10 months ago | (#46035743)

They get infected because people suppress their fever and go out and act as if nothing happened.

That's like claiming that antivirus kits cause more infections because people get them, feel safe and then go and act as if nothing could happen to them anymore. These things, like medication, is supposed to be an aid, not a substitute.

No more asprin? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46035799)

I guess Obamacare will make aspirin illegal now as a preventative action.

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