Drinking Whiskey Could Actually Cure Your Winter Cold

It seems that no matter how many times we get plagued with a dreaded winter sinus infection, we are still unsure how to self-medicate. Do we get some over the counter products from our local pharmacy? Should we let our body fight the infection on its own? Will a shot of vodka clear our system? How about a bowl of chicken noodle soup?

Although you may have previously laughed at your friend who has convinced you to come out with her because “alcohol kills all germs in your system,” there is a little bit of truth to that statement.

It’s not that all alcohol can help your cold, and it’s not that alcohol will actually fight the germs in your system. But, it is true that a little bit of whiskey can alleviate your pain and temporarily heal your body from a harsh cold.

According to Dr. William Schaffner, chair of preventative medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, a whiskey drink such as a Hot Toddy can temporarily relieve you of your cold systems.

While whiskey won’t necessarily fight the actual virus within your body, the warm alcohol dilates your blood vessels and makes it easier for your mucus membranes to deal with the infection. Not to mention that the ingredients in a Hot Toddy (lemon and honey) are also traditional foods to eat when you are sick. If you’re not a fan of Hot Toddy’s, Food and Wine also recommends this tasty looking Whiskey Chai or this Old Irish Cure.

The downside of this information is that doctor’s recommend one alcoholic beverage, not six. Drinking multiple alcoholic beverages (or any diuretics, such as tea and coffee) will dehydrate your system and make it tougher for your body to fight its cold. Even if you’re only drinking one Hot Toddy, make sure to wash it down with plenty of water.

As for your friend who is trying to convince you to go out with her albeit your horrible cold, tell her you’ll sit this one out. After all, what kind of night is it going to be if you have to run to the bathroom every five minutes to grab a kleenex?

Photo via Wall Pea

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