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August 6, 2012 | by  | in News |
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Get Flu, Get Money

Doctors Bankroll War on Flupocalypse

Students visiting the Student Health Service (SHS) with influenza are being asked to volunteer for a medical study at Wellington Hospital.

The study is investigating whether the use of paracetamol will worsen the illness of those sick with the flu, and is being conducted by the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand. The research is following up on some evidence that fever-reducing medications prolong the life of viruses in the body.

Participants are paid $250 to stay at the hospital for two days where they will be asked to take either paracetamol or a placebo in addition to antiviral medication Tamiflu. The heated rooms and free meals provided would be beneficial to the “rapidly rising” number of sick students “who may be living away from family support in cold flats,” SHS Nurse Catherine Nelson said.

However, the National Influenza Specialist Group says vaccinations remain “the single most effective way” of reducing the impact of seasonal influenza, despite only 2000 Victoria students having sought one from the SHS.

Health Minister Tony Ryall has said the flu vaccine would continue to be made available to the public throughout winter.

Symptoms of the flu include fever, muscle aches, headache, lack of energy, a dry cough, sore throat, possibly runny nose and generally feeling miserable.

Advice from the NISG for avoiding the flu:

• Washing hands thoroughly.
• Don’t share drinks.
• Avoiding crowded places.
• Cover mouth and nose with a tissue

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