One thing aspirin does is interrupt the process that makes your blood clot. Taking one every day helps keep your blood flowing smoothly and helps prevent blockages in your blood vessels that can lead to strokes and heart attacks. Talk to your doctor about whether it's a good idea for you.

A study found that women who took at least two aspirin a week had a 40% lower risk of Parkinson's. Researchers aren't sure why. Maybe it's because women tend to take higher doses for arthritis and headaches than men take for heart problems.

As far back as 1500 B.C., people were hip to the medicinal powers of the willow bark plant. But it wasn't until the 1800s that scientists figured out which part of that plant was doing the healing. In 1897, a scientist used a new form of the drug to treat his father's rheumatism. And the aspirin we know today -- acetylsalicylic acid -- was born.

Aspirin is a no-no for kids who have a fever or a viral infection like the flu. It's linked to Reye syndrome, a serious condition with symptoms like vomiting, confusion, and being overstimulated. It causes swelling in the brain and liver and may lead to a coma.
Until age 19, you're usually better off reaching for acetaminophen or ibuprofen, unless your doctor specifically says to use aspirin.

The No. 1 reason over half of people ages 45-75 pop these pills is to help prevent a heart attack.

Aspirin comes in different forms: tablets, powder, gum -- and as a suppository.
It's probably easiest to take it by mouth, but it affects your body the same, no matter how it gets in there. Follow the directions on the package.

High doses can cause tinnitus. The ringing should go away once you stop taking the medicine.
The most common side effect is a tummy ache. Eat something before you take a dose to help avoid that.
It's possible to have an allergic reaction to aspirin, but it's rare.

For moms-to-be, acetaminophen is a better choice for pain relief.
But if you're at high risk for preeclampsia, your doctor will probably recommend a low dose of aspirin to prevent high blood pressure and protein in your urine.
Since aspirin can cause extra bleeding during labor, you shouldn't take it during the last 6-8 weeks your baby's on board, unless your doctor told you to.

Who knew? Aspirin can be good medicine for plants, too. A solution of one and a half tablets in 2 gallons of water sprayed on your garden every 3 weeks can give you more and bigger veggies. The key ingredient, salicylic acid, bumps up plant growth and helps protect them from disease.
Other reported fixes with aspirin -- making a paste for acne or bee stings, protecting your hair from chlorine, boosting your car battery -- don't have the science to back them up.

One large study found that most drugs are still OK up to 15 years after they're made. Manufacturers are required by law to give an expiration date: It's their suggestion for when you should use the medicine for the best results.
To be safe, check with your doctor or pharmacist before you take any expired medicines.


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