If you're unfortunate enough to get flu this winter, taking paracetamol may not ease your symptoms.
According to a new study, the painkiller does not help those suffering from flu, despite the common misconception that it is an effective treatment.
Researchers from the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand compared the symptoms of 80 people who all had the influenza virus.
After giving half the volunteers paracetamol and half a placebo pill, they found there was little difference in symptoms between the two groups.
The researchers gave participants either 1000mg of paracetamol or a matching placebo four times per day, for a total of five days.
"Paracetamol was neither harmful nor beneficial. We found that it did not significantly reduce temperatures compared to a placebo and did not make the participants feel any better," Dr Irene Braithwaite, a senior investigator for the study said in a statement.
However, she noted that we should not underestimate the impact of flu because of the latest results.
"Given the findings it is even more important that those at risk, particularly pregnant women, the very young, the old, and those with chronic medical conditions should have the annual influenza vaccination," she said.
"This may not be foolproof, but it confers the best protection available against the influenza virus."
The latest findings contradict advice around cold and flu management currently recommended by the NHS.
On the site, NHS doctor Rupal Shah advises flu patients: "Try to rest, eat well, avoid stress and keep hydrated. If you have a fever, you may need extra fluids. You could also take paracetamol to treat fever and pain, or inhale steam with a decongestant in to help clear a blocked nose."
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