Tuesday, June 2, 2015

How to Treat the Flu

I am "sicker than a dog," meaning for the last three days I have had the heebie-jebbies, and bounce between cold chills and a hot sweaty fever. I have the flu, day three. I have all the usual symptoms and things have not improve.

Despite my diet which consists of mostly water, some fruit juice and two pieces of toast in the morning, I sensed nausea coming on. How could there be any vomitus to toss? With nothing to lose, I stuck my index finger down the back of my throat and within a few minutes, I was rewarded less than half a cup of something resembling spittle.

Surprise, I feel better, not great, but better than the pounding headache and fever I have had all day. Well enough to see if the internet could explain the turn of events. The explanation is simple - flu is a virus that attacks the stomach and intestines. Vomiting removes some of the virus. And if the flu virus is located in the intestines, then diarrhea is a symptom. I was spared this doggy-indignity.

Feeling better, I was going to go to the pharmacy to buy some aspirin and bring down the fever.

Aspirin is a no no.

Most common flu viruses are rotavirus or norovirus, which can't reproduce when the body experiences a mild fever of 100 degrees. Aspirin was used in the massive influenza flu epidemic of 1918-1919 when an estimated 30 to 50 million people were killed, more than the just concluded Great War. To quote modern doctors:

"High aspirin dosing levels used to treat patients during the 1918-1919 pandemic are now known to cause, in some cases, toxicity and a dangerous build up of fluid in the lungs, which may have contributed to the incidence and severity of symptoms, bacterial infections, and mortality."