The last time I had a cold, I also happened to have a party to attend. While there, I was told, by numerous people, to have a beer. I would feel better in seconds (or sips). In fact, if I really wanted to conquer the virus, I should have a few. I eyed them doubtfully even as they assured me that it was common knowledge and age-old advice. I wasn’t sure what to do. Could alcohol really help?
No. Despite the multitudes of people who swear by a warm brandy or hot toddy in the face of a cold, once the illness has set in, alcohol can not effectively relieve your symptoms. You may feel marginally better, but that’s because you’re a little buzzed from the combination of cold meds and liquor (a bad idea, by the way) not because you’re better. When the alcohol burns out of your system, you’ll be left dehydrated, with a weaker body and prolonged symptoms.
Instead, reserve your alcohol for the pre-cold. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers to ward off germs and if you’re having a drink, have a glass of red wine. Studies have shown that a moderate amount of the tannic beverage can significantly reduce the risk of developing a cold. Once the illness sets in, switch to the much loved colorless, tasteless beverage . . . water. Water and warm, clear broths will help you feel better as the virus works its way through your body.