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Can Whiskey Help You Beat a Cold?

Booze up to bust a cold? Not so fast.

Before the clink of drinks, many Spanish-speaking countries toast with the word “salud,” which translates to “health.” When you’re healthy and kickin,’ toasting to good health can be a feel-good way to appreciate your wellness—even if it is with alcohol, which doesn’t exactly win the healthy drink award.

Despite alcohol’s not-so-healthy reputation, word on the street is that it can help you beat the common cold. Is it true?

While sipping on bourbon might sound more fun than a spoonful of cold medicine, unfortunately, it can’t treat a cold. There’s no “cure” for the common cold. In fact, drinking boozy beverages while you’re sick can actually make your cold worse.

For one thing, alcohol is a diuretic, so it can dehydrate you, which is exactly opposite of what your body needs during a cold. Getting enough fluids and staying hydrated is key for a speedy recovery.

Combining alcohol with certain cold meds can also be dangerous. Imbibing while you take acetaminophen (a common pain and fever reducer) can mess with your liver, and drinking while taking dextromethorphan (in many cough syrups) may cause dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.

Drinking alcohol may also dampen your immune system, and to beat a cold, you need all the immune support you can get.

You best bet to soothe your cold symptoms? Skip the shot, get plenty of rest and fluids, and say cheers to your soon-to-be good health with these cold-fighting foods instead.

Duration: 0:53. Last Updated On: March 1, 2018, 1:30 a.m.
Reviewed by: Preeti Parikh, MD . Review date: Feb. 28, 2018
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