Did aspirin make the Spanish flu worse?

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Spanish flu

Has aspirin made the Spanish flu worse by overdosing and weakening the immune response?

The Spanish flu was always cited as a weighty reason for the panic-like reactions after the outbreak of the swine flu. It occurred in 1918/1919 and was a real horror scenario with around 25 million deaths worldwide at the end of the First World War.

Apart from the current criticism of the measures and the reactions from the government and the media to the swine flu, two more recent scientific findings show the events in a completely different light.

New findings on the links between deaths and treatment The US infectious disease specialist Karen Starko from Burlingame, San Francisco, has researched that many deaths may have been caused by an overdose of aspirin. The background to this is that at the beginning of the 20th century, aspirin became a kind of miracle cure and thus a drug that was heavily touted by the industry and often used overdosed.

Starko's research was triggered by the medical report of a flu victim at the time. This stated that it had been repeatedly treated with "half a handful" of aspirin. This appeared to Starko well above today's normal therapeutic dose.

For comparison: Nowadays the recommended daily dose is a maximum of 4 grams. At that time, between 8 and 31 grams should have been given regularly.

Earlier studies had probably already shown that as a result, around 3 percent of those treated in this way can accumulate water in the lungs. Starko reports in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases that in 1918 pathologists also spoke of such areas in those who died prematurely as part of the Spanish flu. As a result, the symptoms of the Spanish flu could then increase in intensity and occurrence and also the mortality - but also the risk of an additional bacterial infection occurring later. Most Spanish flu patients are believed to have died from subsequent bacterial pneumonia.

This could be underlined by another study in The Journal of Immunology by Charles Brown and his team from the University of Missouri in Columbia, USA. The researchers found that when taken regularly, the active ingredients acetylsalicylic acid (active ingredient in aspirin) and paracetamol block an enzyme in our organism, which is important for our immune defense and the development of an antibody after a flu vaccination.

Using new findings for the benefit of patients In view of the publications by Brown and Starko, it should be borne in mind that the type of treatment may have played a significant role in the high death toll from the Spanish flu. It is to be hoped that these findings will be taken up by the authorities responsible for swine flu. They should lead the way in future treatment approaches and dealing with global infections. (Alternative practitioner osteopathy Thorsten Fischer 04.01. 2010)

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Video: The Spanish flu: the biggest pandemic in modern history

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