When we choose to take a medicine to reduce temperature, we always think of the potential personal advantage, without reflecting around the social consequences of such an action.
Since 2001 we have been fully aware that lowering a fever in order to feel enough well to go to work or to make it to an appointment is an anti-physiological choice, only resulting in an increase of the healing’s duration; instead now, we know that this is also a choice that may become detrimental to all the other people around us, both kids and adults.
Fever is a powerful defensive mechanism and our guidance in dodging winter illnesses has always been the suggestion to avoid falling sick as the best form of prevention, or at least to tackle those light flu-like forms quickly and with effective responses, even if these would force us in bed for a couple of days, before going back to the daily full-time routine.
This type of encounter with flu viruses and the consequent overtaking of the infection help stimulating the Natural Killer cells (NK; a peculiar cell-type of our immune system), which will contribute to a better anti-tumoral and anti-degenerative defence in the following months and years. Falling sick “softly” may help preventing other, more serious diseases.
Yet, we now know that whoever becomes ill with a significant increase in temperature but tries to lower it down, not only will extend its healing duration, but will also put the health of the people surrounding into risk.
A very recent study produced a numeric evaluation for the risk of disease-spread caused by the abuse of antipyretic drugs during the winter season.
This work, appeared on the Proceedings Biological Sciences, had been performed by a Canadian research group made of statisticians, infectivologists, mathematicians and neurologists, who published the results of this analytical study based on the number of deadly events possibly dependent on the use of antipyretics – from paracetamol to salicylates, including most of those currently advertised on TV and radio channels (Earn DJ et al, Proc Biol Sci. 2014 Jan 22;281(1778):20132570. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2013.2570. Print 2014).
Reducing fever with drugs, instead of accompanying it in a physiological way, does limit the defensive action triggered internally by our body, giving the virus a chance to continue its diffusion and transmission to other living beings. In practice, lowering temperature during the flu season by using a chemical approach means facilitating the epidemic progression.
The evaluation made by the Canadian researchers is of a great impact, since it has been hypothesised that during a seasonal flu epidemic up to 5% of the whole mortality may be caused by pharmacologically-accomplished fever reduction. Even websites and internationally renowned magazines (like Science, for example) talked about the news, which surely holds a great social meaning.
High temperature may be treated harmoniously either by modifying cellular reactions using certain useful oils (Perilla oil or Zerotox Ribilla), or by stimulating the immune defences through certain minerals like Oximix 1+, together with betaglucans or vitamin C (like Ester-C Plus 500), otherwise also through one of the best remedies of this season, a mix of broccoli extract, zinc, inositol and betaglucans. The use of Zerotox Betamune – the intake of 1 tablet/day is suggested over the whole winter – may be increased to 2-4 tablets/day in case of any acute form of cold, for those 2-3 days in which the infection can be kept under control.
In this case, the choice of such a therapy (that will ultimately lead to fever reduction, too) originates from completely different presuppositions. On one side, a medicine simply blocks a symptom (i.e. the fever) in a chemical fashion; on the other side, the indicated treatments stimulate the defensive response of the body and lead to temperature reduction through a gradual healing process.
Certainly, these are two completely different stories…