Will Hot Drinks Protect You From Covid-19?

A hot drink can offer comfort, especially on a chilly day. It can act as a salve for a troubled mind, and can make us feel closer to other people. It can even help us cool down in hot weather.

But while many people might seek out a cup of coffee, a mug of tea or a hot toddie to help them in these difficult times, one thing a hot drink won’t do is protect you from Covid-19.

There have been many claims to the contrary circulating widely on social media and in private messaging apps – one of the many fake pieces of health advice that are being shared. One claim that hot water would be enough to protect people from the virus even led the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) to issue a statement to say that it had not come from them.

“There is no evidence that hot drinks will protect against viral infections,” says Ron Eccles, an expert in respiratory diseases at Cardiff University in the UK and former director of the Common Cold Centre.

Eccles has conducted research in the past on the apparent effects of drinking hot liquids when suffering from cold and flu. He found that while a hot drink might bring some relief from the symptoms of a cold, it was likely partly due to the effect it had on promoting secretions of saliva and mucus in the mouth and nose, which soothe inflammation. But he also concluded that there was likely to be a strong placebo effect involved too.

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