Are over-the-counter meds helping spread the flu?

A controversial new study conducted at McMaster University in Canada links the spread of influenza to the use of cold and fever medication.

When people begin experiencing common flu symptoms, they often turn to over-the-counter medications. Popular choices like Tylenol, Aleve, and Motrin can be very effective in reducing symptoms, leading flu sufferers to believe they have recovered when in actuality they have not. Those individuals then return to the public space and spread the flu.

Researchers say it's important to know they are not saying to avoid taking medication entirely. They just want people to be aware that the flu can still be spread despite feeling better.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does recommend people take over-the-counter medication to treat a fever, which will help patients rest in order to fight influenza.

Researchers calculate that the widespread use of fever reducing drugs increases the number of flu cases by five percent every year in the U.S.


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