Can Alcohol Really Help You Beat a Cold?

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Brandy, whiskey and other alcoholic beverages have long been recommended  as    just the thing to treat a cold. But do they really work?

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It turns out that alcohol may help to temporarily relieve cold and flu symptoms, but it will not “cure” the cold or kill any germs in your bloodstream. A cocktail may also be counterproductive because the alcohol may dehydrate you and ultimately lengthen your symptoms.

However, while alcohol will not heal a cold, it may make you less likely to get one.

A 1993 study by Carnegie Mellon researchers found that moderate drinkers had increased resistance to colds. A second study conducted in 2002 and published in the American Journal of Epidemiology also found protective effects of alcohol.

In the study of 4,300 adults, those who drank eight to 14 glasses of wine per week (and red wine in particular) had up to a 60 percent reduced risk of developing a cold. The researchers suggested that the wine’s antioxidant content may have been responsible for the beneficial effect.
*New York Times December 18, 2007
*American Journal of Epidemiology 2002 Vol. 155, No. 9 : 853-858

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