Cold and Flu Myth:

Alcohol is a good remedy for treating a cold or flu.

Simply not true. This common myth is based on the perception that alcohol has a sterilizing effect on a cold or flu virus. However, when alcohol enters the body, it is absorbed through the stomach and gastrointestinal tract,rather than the upper respiratory tract, where viruses reside. Because it does not come in direct contact with the virus, there is little chance that any consumed alcohol can effectively combat a cold or flu.

Not only is alcohol ineffective at killing cold and flu viruses, it can actually have detrimental effects that may worsen the symptoms of the common cold or flu. Alcohol dehydrates the body, slowing down other bodily reactions and weakening the immune system. Additionally, alcohol may conflict with other medications, giving rise to serious complications. The bottom line is that any alcoholic beverage should be avoided when you’re sick.


Alcohol Absorption, Distribution & Elimination. Forcon Forensic Consulting. Retrieved December 14, 2011, from