Over-the-counter cold and flu medications that reduce fever may make patients think they’re well so they go back to school or work prematurely. Researchers at Canada’s McMaster University concluded that when some patients reduce their symptoms with cold and flu over-the-counter medications, they may go back to their normal activities and spread the illness.
Even though patients may feel fine and return to work or school, they may still be infected, according to the study, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. While, according to WTOP, the study is thought to be a bit controversial, it found that nearly 1,000 people die each year by getting the flu from someone that took over-the-counter medications and thought they were better.
"We aren't saying don't take medication. That's not the message," David Earn, who specializes in mathematics and disease, said to NBC News. "Be aware that if you take this medication, there is this effective increase in transmission."
Just because you have a mild case of the flu, doesn’t mean that the person you infect will also get a mild case.
"Maybe you'll give your young child medication to make them feel better and because they feel better they might go jump in granny's lap and give her a hug and a kiss," Earn said to NBC.
We're currently in peak flu season though timing of the flu season is rather unpredictable in a number of ways. But it most commonly peaks in January and February. However, flu season can begin as early as October and continue to occur through May.
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