While many people rely on the Hot Toddy to cure a common cold, general consensus seems to have always been that drinking, especially during flu season, causes one to be more susceptible to a cold.
Luckily for us drinkers, a few studies actually indicate that the opposite may be true. That drinking in moderation actually helps prevent you from getting that cold. Time to pull that bottle closer!
One such study, known as the Common Cold Project, was conducted by Carnegie Mellon University in 1993. The team of researchers examined who was most susceptible to a winter cold: those who smoked, those who smoked and drank, those who just drank and those who did nothing at all.
Smokers were the most susceptible to the flu, especially upper-respiratory ailments, but moderate drinkers got sick even less than all the other groups. On top of this, those who combined their drinking with smoking seemed to somewhat offset the cigarettes’ effects, getting sick only a normal amount compared to people who just smoked and got sick much more frequently.
Years later, in 2002, researchers in Spain followed 4,300 healthy adults, examining their habits and susceptibility to colds. The study, in The American Journal of Epidemiology, found no relationship between the incidence of colds and consumption of beer, spirits, Vitamin C or zinc. But drinking 8 to 14 glasses of wine per week, particularly red wine, was linked to as much as a 60 percent reduction in the risk of developing a cold. The scientists suspected this had something to do with the antioxidant properties of red wine.
So far, no study has shown that alcohol has the ability to kill germs in the bloodstream or stop a cold in its tracks. And while alcohol may provide temporary relief, it can prolong symptoms by increasing dehydration.
Alcohol will not help cure a cold, though moderate consumption may reduce susceptibility.