(NaturalNews) By any definition, the flu is a virus that causes great misery to anyone who suffers from it. This is why health experts try to identify the strains that are most likely to be active during the upcoming flu season to add to the flu shots. Of course, just because a person gets a flu shot does not mean that they are protected from getting the flu.
Addressing flu symptoms
Given how miserable the flu makes people feel, it is hardly surprising that they want to address their symptoms as soon, and as powerfully, as possible. Taking these medications might make the flu sufferer feel better, but there could be some unexpected risks to other people. Recent study results issued by McMaster University in Canada found that when people take medications for the flu, they release the flu virus back into the environment.
Flu virus shed into general population
While these findings are not new - researchers have known about the effects on others when those with the flu take anti-pyretic, or anti-flu, medications, since the 1970s - little research has been completed on their effects on the heath of the general public. This effect is not minimal, either. The aforementioned study found that overall flu cases increased by about 5 percent. This figure translates to over 1,000 more deaths in the United States alone due to the flu.
Another twist to the saga
This shedding of the flu virus into the general population is not the only issue at stake when sick people begin medicating themselves. This phenomena occurs because the medications that people take make them feel better before the virus has left their bodies fully. This means that, even though a person might find their flu symptoms bearable, or even diminished enough for them to resume work and school activities, they still harbor the virus. Because of this, when a person that has the flu ventures out into the general public, they are able to easily infect others.
Use good judgment
In order to prevent the continued spread of the flu virus, people who are sick need to use good judgment, even if they are feeling better, before they venture out into the general population. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that people who are sick with the flu remain at home for at least 24 hours after their fever is gone. This does not mean when the fever is controlled by medication, however. What this refers to is when the fever is completely resolved without the use of medication, then the person should still wait a full 24 hours before going back to work or school.
Given this new research that confirms how easily the flu virus is spread, even by people who are feeling better, it makes even more sense than ever before for them to take stay home when they are sick.