Drinking Alcohol While Sick – Is It Ok?

A common cold is usually accompanied by coughing, sneezing, congestion, sore throat, headache and other symptoms. It usually lasts about a week or two and it is important to take some medicines during that time. There are a lot of antibiotics and over-the-country remedies that may help you treat a cold.

Also, there are many home remedies that may also be helpful. But, have you ever heard that you should drink alcohol when you are sick? How much alcohol is okay in this situation? If you don’t have a fever and if you feel good enough to meet with your friends while sick, then you may be wondering is it okay to drink alcohol.

In this article you will get the answers to this and similar questions. We will tell you when it is okay to drink alcohol and how much alcohol is safe. Just continue reading and you will find out soon.

Can You Drink Alcohol While Sick?

Well, the answer to this question would be yes. You can drink alcohol, but in very small amounts. It is true that sometimes a glass of alcoholic drink may help when you are sick. But, remember that it refers only to cold and flu kind of sickness. But, if you are too sick, then you should not be drinking alcohol. In this case it is best to see your doctor.

There is a myth that bacteria and viruses will be killed by alcohol, so many people want to try it. But, it is a big mistake. This would be true if you had about 60% alcohol in your bloodstream, which is impossible. With this amount of alcohol in your body you would be disinfected, but you would be dead for sure. It is known that the human body is not able to tolerate such a large concentration of alcohol, so it is better to find some other remedy for your cold.

Reasons Why You Should Not Drink Alcohol While Sick

Alcohol Weakens Your Immune System. It is also proved that alcohol has a negative effect on your immune system. If you drink alcohol while sick, it will increase the risk of infections and it will make it difficult for your body to fight off viruses. Remember that your body treats alcohol as a toxin, especially if it is consumed in large amounts. It is also proved that your body can only metabolize 1 oz of alcohol per hour. Drinking alcohol during a common cold will result in prolonged illness or in a more serious condition. Knowing all these facts, you should be careful and drink alcohol in moderation.

Alcohol May Damage Your Liver. Have you ever heard that alcohol and infections have something in common? Well, they can damage your liver. If your liver is already off, you should not drink alcohol while recovering because it may cause serious issues.

Alcohol Can Make Some Medicines Ineffective. Another important fact is that alcohol may slow down recovery and make antibiotics ineffective. It is proved that antibiotics can’t properly metabolize when alcohol is in your body.

Antibiotics Don’t Mix Well With Alcohol. There is one important thing you should know. If you are already taking over-the-counter medicines for cold and flu which contain alcohol, you should avoid alcoholic drinks completely. If you combine alcohol with some cold medications that contain ibuprofen or acetaminophen, it could have some toxic effects on the liver and irritate your stomach. However, if you take alcohol-free medications, you can drink alcohol in small amounts.

Alcohol May Cause Dehydration. We all know that our bodies need fluids while sick. Keeping your body hydrated while it fights off viruses and bacteria is essential for your recovery. Because of that it is necessary to drink lots of fluids in order to stay hydrated. But, remember that alcohol has the opposite effect in this situation. Alcohol may cause dehydration. Actually, it has almost the same effects as caffeine, so you should be careful. If you have cold, you should drink 8 oz of clear fluid every two hours in order to keep your throat hydrated and to relieve congestion. If you have a fever, it will be necessary to drink more than 8 oz of clear fluid every two hours.

How Much Alcohol Is Safe When Sick?

Although it is not good to drink alcohol while sick, one hot toddy or a glass of wine won’t do any harm to you.

Also, alcohol will help you fall asleep much easier. But, remember that only a small amount of alcohol may help you sleep better. One standard drink is more than enough if you are sick. Too much alcohol may disrupt your sleep.


As you can see in this article, alcohol is not the best remedy if you are sick. Unfortunately, it will do more harm than good, so it is better to use some other remedy to treat cold and flu. You can have a drink once in a while, but too much alcohol is not good for your health. Our recommendation is to drink red wine in order to prevent the cold.

Also, you should avoid stress situations, because too much stress may weaken your immune system. If you are sick, you should avoid smoking because it will damage the cells in your lungs. We hope this article has been useful for you and we are sure you will avoid alcohol and find some other remedy to treat cold.