Today’s Headlines: Fever-Reducers, Fish Oil and Sitting

Reducing fever can aid spread of flu: Unfortunately for flu sufferers, a new study shows that “popping pills to relieve a flu-induced fever can make you more likely to pass the virus to others.” According to researchers, people with the flu who take anti-fever drugs “release more influenza virus into the environment than people who forgo drugs.” These medications raise the number of influenza cases by an estimated 5% a year, which translates to “more than 1,000 additional deaths in the USA annually for a garden-variety flu strain.” This increase in infectivity may be due to the fact that “immune-system chemicals that fight infectious viruses are made in greater quantities at higher temperatures.” Researchers said that people with the flu shouldn’t necessarily avoid fever-reducing drugs, but they should definitely take extra precautions not to spread the disease. (USA Today)

What’s in your fish oil supplements? New research suggests that “some consumers may not always get what they are paying for” when it comes to omega-3-rich fish oil supplements. Researchers analyzed the levels of the heart-friendly omega-3 fatty acids in 30 top-selling fish oil supplements and found that “six of those products contained levels of omega-3s that were, on average, 30 percent less than stated on their labels.” Levels of a particular type of omega-3 useful for heart and brain health, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), were also found to be 14% less than advertised in at least a dozen of the products. Fish oil products are “among the most popular dietary supplements on the market,” but are not regulated by the FDA. (The New York Times)

Men who sit a lot may be at higher risk of heart failure: Men who sit for long periods of time outside of the workday and don’t frequently exercise appear to be at a much higher risk of heart failure, a condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s demands, according to a new study. Researchers tracked over 84,000 men with no history of heart failure. “Subjects who sat for at least five hours a day outside of their regular workday and had low levels of physical activity were twice as likely to have heart failure than men who sat for no more than two hours and were physically active.” (CBS News)