The lowly aspirin is a mighty thing.
We’ve known for more than a century that aspirin is an overall pain reliever and can ease fevers. For decades we’ve known that taking small doses of aspirin can help with heart disease, although that notion has come into question lately. Now there’s a new use for aspirin. People taking small doses for heart disease appear to have a much lower chance of dying from COVID-19 than people not taking aspirin.
A new study at the University of Maryland School of Medicine found that patients with COVID-19 who were taking aspirin were nearly 50% less likely to die in the hospital and much less likely to be admitted to the ICU and put on a ventilator than patients not taking aspirin. Doctors surmise that the aspirin reduces the chances of blood clots, which are a common problem with COVID-19.
Dr. Jonathan Chow, Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said:
“When you have a disease like COVID that leads to increased formation of blood clots, and then you have a medication like aspirin which thins your blood and prevents those blood clots from forming, it makes clinical sense that it would work.”
But don’t rush out to buy, and start chewing, aspirin. Dr. Chow points out that people should talk to their primary physician before starting any drug regimen. That makes sense, but if you end up with COVID-19 and are running a fever, well, maybe you take something with aspirin for your symptoms and perhaps get an added benefit.