05 April 2007

Pharmacology and the Stomach Flu

I've come down with yet another (and nastier) bug - the stomach flu! I'm less excited about this than the exclamation point indicates. So, I thought I'd share some more great ways to take care of yourself when you are sick in your dorm room and your mom isn't around to sing you to sleep.

From my roommate: 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda (no more, or it will taste terrible!!!) mixed together thoroughly until the baking soda is dissolved is like magic medicine for an upset stomach. What better than a base like sodium bicarbonate to neutralize your rampant acids in your stomach? I'm such a nerd.

You should never take aspirin, ibuprofen, or other NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, i.e. many pain medications) when you have a stomach issue. Why?

In the pain pathway, there are two enzymes that are especially responsible for creating pain and inflammation. These are the cyclooxygenase-I and cyclooxygenase-II (COX-I, II) enzymes. COX-I regulates some normal functions of your body--the thickness of your stomach lining and the release of gastric acid in your stomach, for example. The COX-II enzymes are the ones responsible for your excruciating pain. NSAIDs, however, aren't entirely selective for the COX-II enzymes, and will also have adverse effects on your COX-I enyzmes, creating the risk for stomach ulcers and increased irritation. This is why you should never take aspirin for an extended period of time for a fever or otherwise. And definitely why you should never take one of these medications when you have the stomach flu.

I think all this writing of science fair activities is turning me into one of those really cheesy science guys on TV. Anyway, I'm pretty sure that this is my body telling me that I need to stop running around like a mad person. I need a break!

Resting until further notice...


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