Tag Archives: influenza

Can your fever help protect your loved ones?

fever?When you have the flu, what’s one of the first things you do? If you’re like most people, you take something to reduce your fever. But new research suggests that this could be more harmful than you might think.

Your body’s temperature rises for a reason. When your body senses infection, your brain detects telltale chemical signals in your bloodstream and your body temperature rises. The theory is that your body is trying to fight off bacteria and viruses that are sensitive to temperature changes. Often, though, our first instinct is to get our body temperature back to normal, and we turn to ibuprofen or other fever-reducing drugs (antipyretics) for relief.

Research 40 years ago showed that patients taking antipyretics shed more virus particles than those who didn’t. But new influenza research in ferrets looks at the possible impact on the general population, and suggests that use of these drugs could lead to a 1-5% increase in cases of the flu.

While there’s definitely more work to be done, just keep in mind that your decision to medicate could affect the people around you, as well. What do you think? What do YOU do when you have a fever?


A pickle a day… keeps the flu away?

iStock_000004841980XSmallSounds funny, but check it out! It’s possible that influenza infections could be prevented by a drink made from a Japanese pickle! It seems that Lactobacillus bacteria (naturally found in a pickled turnip called Suguki) boosts the immune system, and in research studies, it was found to have protective effects against influenza in mice. It’s also possible that this bacteria could prevent H1N1 and H7N9- which is nothing to laugh at!

As more and more people search for natural approaches to staying healthy, this type of research is definitely in high demand. Often, false claims are made about the effectiveness of natural supplements, so being able to back up those claims with scientific evidence is important.¬†And just think- through research into the mechanisms behind these protective qualities, wouldn’t it be cool if researchers could develop flu-fighting foods? Pass the pickles!

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