Canada Health Alliance

Lessons from the Flu Epidemic of 1918: The Dangers of Using Fever Suppressing Drugs for Viral Infections

Dana Ullman

50 million were thought to have died as a result of the influenza epidemic of 1918, but there is now a potential newly uncovered contributing factor to many of these deaths. Aspirin went o patent in 1917, making it available at cheaper prices, and because its patent-owner, Bayer, had worldwide distribution of it, aspirin was available easily and cheaply.

The Journal of the American Medical Association and other medical journals of the day actually recommended using 1 gram every three hours, which is the equivalent to 25 aspirin a day to suppress the fever in patients suffering from influenza.

Many of the people who died from influenza were found to have bleeding in the lungs, a strange symptom of the u and a known side effect from aspirin overdose.

To date, there has only been a small number of studies that have evaluated the risks and/or bene ts from fever-suppressing drugs for patients with Covid-19.

We need to respect our body’s own immune responses to virus infection and work to support it rather than to suppress such defenses.

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