Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Attention Fever phobics

With flu season upon up, we're bombarded with tips and warnings and fear-mongering. Without fail, every year our 24-hour news cycle sings that same old tune -- and this year we have The Swine to top it off.

Here's some advice you're not likely to hear: Avoid fever-reducing drugs.

Yet this is exactly what Dana Ullman of the Huffington Post suggests, citing the 2,000-year-old understanding that a moderate fever is beneficial.
"It is widely recognized that fever is a vital defense of the body in its efforts to fight infection. A fever enables the body to increase its production of interferon, an important antiviral substance that is critical for fighting infection. Fever also increases white blood cell mobility and activity, which are instrumental factors in fighting infection."
Aggressively suppressing a fever strips the body of its natural fighting process, according to Ullman. There are exceptions: A fever above 104 degrees for over six hours, or any fever in an infant under four months old.

The article also cites the inherent danger in aspirin and acetaminophen. Aspirin can cause Reye's syndrome -- a potentially fatal neurological condition -- in children, and can increase the risk for bleeding disorders. Acetaminophen -- widely assumed to be safer than aspirin -- has been associated with asthma and eczema in children; and is the number one overdosed drug reported to U.S. poison control centers.

Are you a Tylenol addict? Do you give your children OTC drugs?

No comments:

Post a Comment