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Is it okay to drink alcohol when you have a cold?

Stacy Wiegman, PharmD
Pharmacy Specialist
You should not drink alcohol when you have a cold. It's dehydrating, and when you have a cold it’s important to keep the lining of your nose and throat moist. The moisture thins mucus so you can easily blow and cough it out. Be sure to drink other beverages, though—at least eight glasses of non-alcoholic fluids every day. And steer clear of caffeine, which is also dehydrating.

It is not recommended to drink any alcohol when you are sick. Alcohol affects your immunity so if you have a cold, it can prolong your recovery time. If you're sick you're going to take medication and if you drink alcohol, it can interact with the medication.

Alcohol causes some dehydration so it’s important you drink nonalcoholic drinks when you are sick.

Trinity Health is a Catholic health care organization that acts in accordance with the Catholic tradition and does not condone or support all practices covered in this site. In case of emergency call 911. This site is educational and not a substitute for professional medical advice, always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider.

It is best to limit alcohol intake if you have a cold. It is best to stay hydrated with water when you have a cold; alcohol can cause you to become more dehydrated.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.