NORTHWEST ARKANSAS -- You might not realize it, but over-the-counter cold and flu medications could actually help spread the virus. People who take fever-reducing drugs, like ibuprofen or Tylenol, tend to feel better, so many may go ahead back to work or school. But local health professionals say it's important to realize that, while these medications target symptoms, they don't actually treat the flu.
"Dimetapp or even Tylenol or any type of cold and flu remedy, like Alka Seltzer, there's a multitude of those that will make you feel better, but you are still considered contagious," says infection prevention officer Karen Watts.
Many doctors and pharmacists say it's fine to use over-the-counter medications to tackle symptoms since they can help you feel better. But if you have the flu, they recommend you stay home until you've been fever-free for 24 hours without using fever-reducing meds.
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