Don’t you just hate it when you suddenly feel a bit under the weather? You know what I’m talking about – the chills, the rise in body temperature, and the weak feeling we get that will certainly make us tell that something’s wrong. This is a fever. It’s common for all of us and we get it every once in a while. Although this feeling is extremely uncomfortable, it’s actually a good thing; fever is our body’s natural way to kill viruses sensitive to temperature changes. This, however, raises the question whether or not we should take medicine for fever to reduce our temperature, when in fact our body needs the raise in temperature to fight viruses.
If fever is a good thing, why do we take medicine in the first place? Let’s face it, having a fever is not the best feeling in the world, and it holds us back from doing things because we just wouldn’t be able to function properly. A virus can get into our system anytime, anywhere, and unfortunately, even the important days of our lives are no exception. That is why taking medicines rather than waiting for our body to heal itself is what we prefer because, well, it’s faster and we get immediate relief from the uncomfortable symptoms
Let us go back to the main question here, “if I treat my fever, will it prolong the virus? Yes. Yes it will. Researchers from the University Of Maryland Baltimore conducted a study where they compared the duration of illness between those who took an anti-fever medicine to those who didn’t. Results showed that those who took medications were sick an average of 3.5 days longer than those who took nothing. The researchers concluded that “Anti-fever drugs such as aspirin and acetaminophen may prolong influenza A infections.” The study results were released in the December 2000 issue of Pharmacotherapy, the official journal of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy.
Does this mean that we should just leave the fever alone? Yes and no. According to the National Institute of Health, a biomedical research facility primarily located in Maryland, USA:
“Most bacteria and viruses that cause infections in people thrive best at 98.6 °F (37°C). … Brain damage from a fever generally will not occur unless the fever is over 107.6 °F (42 °C). Untreated fevers caused by infection will seldom go over 105 °F (40.5°C) unless the child is overdressed or trapped in a hot place.”
Therefore, if our fever is left untreated and goes over 40°C, it is best to consult the doctor because as mentioned, it is not your usual infection and its severity can cause brain damage. Fevers below 40°C can be left untreated, but you don’t have to completely leave it alone. It will be very uncomfortable and no one wants that. Here are the things you can do to make your fever bearable without having to take meds.
With all these information, you might want to think first before taking medicines for fever. Avoid it whenever you can. If you just can’t avoid it because you have lots of things you need to do, then keep in mind that the virus will stay longer, having more chance of getting your room mate sick too.