Why Should You Drink More Fluids With a Cold?

I am just getting over a cold. My father unfortunately seems to have caught one–possibly the one that I had. And I guess you could call my question a two-part one:

  1. Why do doctors always advise you to get pleny of fluids when you have a cold? And,

  2. Does drinking more fluids in any way shorten the duration of the cold?


Because there is really very little a doctor can do about a cold and drinking plenty of liquids (water or fruit juice) can’t be bad for you. Just what the doctor ordered; advice that can’t cause a malpractice suit. :wink:

I thought it was because snot and stuff has lots of water in it, and if you honk up enough of it, you can become dehydrated.


I thought it was because you sweat a lot when you have a fever.

I thought it was to help your body fight the infection by flushing it out of your system?

When you are ill, the pathogens in your body often produce toxins and kill some of your cells, your immune system deals with the pathogens by (essentially)eating them, but a white blood cell can only eat so many pathogens before it is exhausted and dies.

So you’ve got an elevated level of toxins, bits of dead cell and bits of dead pathogens floating around in your system; drinking fluids helps you to flush it all out.

There is the whole sweating thing too, of course.

Isn’t that a whole different thing?
[ul][li] Feed a cold[/li][li] Starve a fever[/ul][/li]Nobody said anything about having a fever with a cold. :wink:

Dehydration is a danger in nearly any infectious disease state. Extra fluids are lost thru fever, mucous drainage, diarrhea, coughing (which pulls a lot of extra moisture out of the lungs), and chills, to name a few mechanisms. Meanwhile the appetite is generally off, and fewer liquids are taken in. Not an optimal state to be in when healthy, much less when sick. And if you’ve got healthy kidneys, you really can’t take in too much fluids, as you’ll just pee them out. So it’s generally safe advice.

So push fluids! Keep your secretions moist, your plasma volume full, your macrophages well hydrated! Unless you have renal disease which requires a fluid restriction; in which case check with your doctor.


Ahhh, Qadgop…how close I came to losing fluids nasally! So often in a medical/health-related thread I look forward to you being the voice of reason and someone who also actually knows what they are talking about. I’m curious…do you have a website, a la the Bad Astronamer?

or, “AstronOmer” for those who are keeping score.

[ul]:cool: [sup]Exactly my point![/sup][/ul]

It’s to keep General Ripper from nuking you.

I thought this was my website? :smiley:

Am I the only one who heard the “Star-Spangled Banner” playing in the background of this?

At any rate, words to live by. Plus, the exercise of frequent trips to the toi-toi keeps your legs from developing blood clots.