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Aspirin what is it and what does it do

Aspirin is a anti-inflammatory medication which does not contain steroids. Aspirin relieves pain and reduces inflammation. It also lowers high temperatures and fever. It is therefore useful to take aspirin if, for example, you have a cold, sore throat or inflamed joints.

Aspirin also makes blood less likely to clot, thereby reducing the risk of a repeated heart attack or stroke. No person should take aspirin for this purpose without the advice of a doctor. However, aspirin can irritate the stomach and cause ulcers and internal bleeding, so sufferers from ulcers and indigestion should avoid it.

Paracetamol is less likely to cause an upset stomach but does not help to prevent heart attacks and strokes.

Caution Children under 12 should not be given aspirin to take when they have a virus because of the danger of Reye's syndrome, a rare but often fatal disease which has been linked to viral infections and aspirin. Paracetamol is considered a safer alternative if taken with care.

Pregnant women should not take aspirin it can harm the fetus.

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