Sore throat after drinking

The Effects Of A Hangover

Do you ever wonder what happens to your body when you have a hangover? After a night of heavy drinking you may experience a sore throat, stomach pain, or a combination of uncomfortable hangover symptoms. Being hungover is hard on your body, but alcohol’s long-term effects are even worse. Take the tour below to see firsthand the toll alcohol takes on many aspects of your health – from proper sleep to your heart function. Warning: This may be a sobering experience.

Hangover Effects on Your Body

You finish your last drink and now you’re sleepy – and it’s not hard to drift off quickly thanks to alcohol’s sedative effect. But when you wake up the next morning, you don’t feel rested. The alcohol you consumed made you sleep lightly and suppressed your REM cycle—drastically cutting down the amount of restorative sleep that your body requires. You probably slept fitfully, waking up often. Your head is going to feel heavy tomorrow, and you’ll likely have difficulty keeping your eyes open throughout the day.

And now you’re racing to the bathroom because you’re going to throw up. Your throat burns and your stomach hurts. That’s because the excess alcohol has inflamed both your esophageal and stomach lining. You may even have diarrhea thanks to the fact that your bowels are having trouble re-absorbing water after first being exposed to all that alcohol. You reach for antacids to counteract the excess stomach acid.

Your mouth feels dry, and you’re dizzy. You’re thirsty – so thirsty – because despite all the drinks you enjoyed, you are dehydrated. In addition, the alcohol-induced drop in blood sugar makes you feel weak and fatigued, but food doesn’t sound appetizing. Your head is aching thanks to dilated blood vessels in your brain, and it’s throbbing from dehydration. You ask yourself, “Was it really worth it?”

No one likes dealing with a hangover. Unfortunately, though, alcohol’s long-term effects on your body are even more dramatic.

Long-Term Effects of Drinking on the Heart

Your heart. It’s one of the most important of your vital organs, with the demanding role of pumping blood throughout your entire body. So what can happen to your heart when you drink habitually?

Alcoholic cardiomyopathy causes the heart muscle to stretch, thicken and stop contracting effectively—preventing your other organs from getting the blood they need. If you develop this condition, you probably feel short of breath and fatigued; your heartbeat is irregular, and your legs and feet are swollen. The toxic effects on your heart are progressive—if you don’t do something, it can lead to heart failure.

If your heart is beating rapidly and irregularly, diminishing efficient cardiac functioning and forward blood flow, you may be experiencing atrial fibrillation. You may notice weakness, shortness of breath, and heart palpitations. Tempted to ignore the signs? Don’t. Though it can come and go, atrial fibrillation is serious: It can lead to blood clots, stroke, and heart failure.

Ventricular tachycardia has several potential causes – but heavy drinking is a major one. If you have this disease, your heart’s ventricle malfunctions and causes an extremely fast heartbeat – so fast that your heart can’t fill up with enough blood between beats. This condition can result in dizziness, lightheadedness, unconsciousness, cardiac arrest, and even death.

Next, let’s take a look at how alcohol affects your liver.

Long-Term Effects of Drinking on the Liver

Your liver is your largest glandular organ, and it affects just about every other part of your body. Among other roles, it detoxifies blood, stores nutrients, and metabolizes drugs – and you can’t live without it.

But you’ve had a stressful week. You don’t always drink this much, but you want to unwind. Unfortunately, even just a few days of heavy drinking can cause a buildup of fat in your liver, referred to as steatosis (or fatty liver). As this condition progresses, you may notice that you’re tired, weak, nauseated, possibly confused, and you may lose your appetite. While other conditions can lead to steatosis, consuming too much alcohol is a major cause. What can you do? The liver is somewhat unique in that it can regenerate some functioning after being damaged—but only to a certain extent. In other words, stop drinking immediately.

If you drink enough, your liver actually becomes injured – and its response is to produce scar tissue, just as other body parts do. This condition is called fibrosis. If left unchecked, it can lead to cirrhosis and liver failure, among other issues. You may even need a liver transplant, though an active alcohol abuse problem may make it difficult to be placed on a transplant waiting list.

If you still don’t stop drinking despite the accumulation of scar tissue, you may get cirrhosis. This slow deterioration of the liver prevents it from doing its job. You may end up with conditions including jaundice, type 2 diabetes, and even your risk of liver cancer rises markedly.
Now let’s see what excess alcohol does to your pancreas.

Long-Term Effects of Drinking on the Pancreas

From its spot behind your stomach, your pancreas produces hormones and secretes digestive enzymes to help your body break down food and absorb nutrients. It’s kind of a big deal.

Generally caused by heavy drinking over several years, acute pancreatitis occurs when your pancreas becomes inflamed. You may notice exquisitely sharp abdominal pain or tenderness, nausea, fever, and rapid heart rate. Chronic pancreatitis causes these same symptoms, along with weight loss. Cutting out alcohol is a priority if you have pancreatitis; as an endocrine organ – and one that manufactures enzymes vital to the digestive process – when left untreated, a process known as pancreatic autodigestion can result. This can destroy the pancreas and surrounding tissues, leading to profound endocrine dysfunction (including malabsorption problems and diabetes) and even death.

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Got a sore throat? Here’s what you should – and shouldn’t – eat and drink

You can’t talk, it’s difficult to swallow and you have that icky feeling in your throat. Sorry to break it to you, but you’ve caught yourself a sore throat.

It might not be a full-blown cold, but the soreness in your throat is enough to leave you out of commission for a few days at least, and getting relief seems next to impossible.

READ MORE: Here’s why Canada may be in for a miserable 2017-18 flu season

A sore throat, also known as pharyngitis, is an inflammation of the pharynx (the back of the throat between your tonsils and voice box) and it can be caused by many things, including viruses, yeast and bacteria, the College of Family Physicians of Canada says.

Instead of rushing to the pharmacy for some sort of syrup, however, there are plenty of foods and drinks in your fridge and pantry that can help soothe that sore throat.

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But what should you reach for – something hot or cold?

According to registered dietitian Andy De Santis, both work fine, it just depends on the person, but drinking plenty of fluids is key.

“Drinking plenty of fluids is a wise strategy when dealing with sore throats as keeping your throat moist may help from a comfort perspective,” he says. “It will also help keep you hydrated, which is an important consideration, especially when you’re sick.”

Keep foods soft and make sure they have an easy-to-swallow texture, registered dietitian Nicole Osinga adds.

Some may find relief in ingredients like honey, lemon, ginger, turmeric and sage, but De Santis says there isn’t enough evidence to suggest they are all that effective.

“Some people may get relief from these ingredients,” he says. “The good thing about them is that they are all safe to use so even if they don’t work, it really isn’t that big of a deal.”

READ MORE: This year’s flu vaccine might only be 10% effective against predominant strain

For a better chance at relief, try tea for a warm option or popsicles if you’d rather cold.

Wheat germ and pumpkin seeds may also help with relief as they are high in zinc, which helps with cell growth and the immune system, Osinga adds.

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Avoid stuff like alcohol, caffeine, very spicy foods and acidic foods (like tomatoes and citrus). They are all potential irritants that should temporarily be avoided when dealing with a sore throat, De Santis, says.

Also, skip crackers, crusty bread and other dry snack foods until your throat feels better, Osinga says.

As well, be wary of herbal remedies, De Santis adds, as they may interfere with medication in some cases.

If your sore throat is severe and persists for more than a week, De Santis says it’s best to see your doctor.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

A SORE throat is almost unavoidable this time of year… and it’s something we’d all rather do without.

Changes are as the cold weather sets in and the winter bugs become rife you’ve probably already had one.

7 Sore throats are usually caused by viruses like colds and flu and can make it difficult for you to swallow and talkCredit: Getty – Contributor

Sore throats are caused by viruses like colds and flu, or by lifestyle choices like smoking.

Apart from the usual dry, scratchy feeling, a sore throat may also make it difficult for you to swallow, give you bad breath and cause a mild cough as well as swollen neck glands.

Most of the time there’s no cause to see a GP as the pain will subside in a few days with the use of a few helpful remedies.

However, if the pain lasts for more than a week, you get sore throats often, you develop a fever or you have a weakened immune system you should consult a doctor.

7 Sucking on something cold like an ice lolly can help ease inflammationCredit: Getty – Contributor

Here’s a few handy tips to help you get rid of your pesky sore throat.

1. Suck on ice lollies

The cold of an ice lolly can help cool your throat and ease the pain.

When you have a sore throat, it becomes red and inflamed.

As with any kind of inflammation, ice cubes or something cold like an ice lolly can help reduce it, therefore easing the pain.

That doesn’t mean you can eat an entire tub of ice cream though.

And you should never give ice cubes to children as they pose a choking risk.

7 Gargling salt water helps reduce the risk of infectionCredit: Getty – Contributor

2. Gargle salt water

You’ve probably heard this one before.

Not only does warm salt water help you throat feel better, it also reduces the risk of infection.

You should try and gargle half a teaspoon of stable salt diluted in one cup of water.

But make sure you spit it out at the end though – swallowing salt water won’t taste nice.

7 Comforting food like warm soup and broth can ease your painCredit: Getty – Contributor

3. Avoid tea and coffee

Warm liquids and foods can feel like they’re soothing your sore throat.

Things like caffeine-free tea, hot water with honey and lemon, soup and broth can help ease your pain, just drink them when they’re lukewarm.

And you should avoid piping hot tea and coffee because the caffeine in them can dehydrate you and make your pain worse.

Soup and broth are especially good if you’re having trouble swallowing because they help get plenty of nutrients into your body, which help fight off illness.

These can all help a sore throat by reducing congestion in the back of the throat and moistening the vocal cords, which become dry and give you that rasping voice when you’re ill.

Keeping the throat warm and moist can help it heal faster.

7 Keeping up your fluid intake can help prevent dehydration and help your body fight off the virusCredit: Getty – Contributor

4. Drink plenty of water

You know you need to drink plenty of water when you are unwell and having a sore throat is no different.

Your body is more likely to become dehydrated when it’s fighting off a virus so it’s important to make sure you keep your fluid levels topped up.

But as mentioned above, you should avoid drinking caffeine or alcohol as both can dehydrate you, prolonging how long it takes your body to fight off the infection.

7 Smoking can cause a sore throat and irritate it, so try to avoid smoking when you are unwellCredit: Getty – Contributor

5. Stop smoking

As mentioned above, lifestyle choices like smoking can cause a sore throat.

So if you are a smoker try to avoid lighting up until your sore throat has gone away – and cutting down will only have health benefits.

But even if you aren’t a smoker there are environmental irritants that can make your throat worse, including second-hand smoke, cleaning products and cold air.

So when you can avoid the things that are irritating your throat to give it enough time to heal.

7 Throat lozenges contain medicine to help numb your throatCredit: Alamy

6. Stock up on throat lozenges

There are plenty of lozenges you can buy in your local pharmacy or high street stores that ease the pain of a sore throat.

They contain medicine that numbs your throat, which is particularly helpful if you are having difficulty swallowing.

Make sure you read the label before you start taking them and never give them to children under four because of the choking risk.

If you’d rather not use a medicated lozenge then try sucking on a hard boiled sweet.

7. Avoid the cold

Cold air can irritate your throat and make the pain worse.

But you can buy devices that humidify the air of the room you are in, so you will find it easier to breathe.

If you don’t want to buy a humidifier you can also place your head under a towel with a bowl of steamy water for a few minutes or take a long, hot shower.

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8. Rest up!

As with any illness your body needs rest to help fight it off.

Even if you aren’t feeling that unwell you should try and get enough sleep so the virus doesn’t get worse.

The average adult needs anywhere between seven and eight hours sleep a night and that is even more important when your immune system is working harder.

Nick Frost’s sketch on the grim reality of ‘man flu’

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Why does it hurt when I swallow?

Several illnesses and conditions that lead to infection, inflammation, and obstruction of the throat, mouth, or food pipe can cause discomfort swallowing.

Depending on the cause, additional symptoms are often present. The following causes can lead to painful swallowing:

Strep throat

Share on PinterestStrep throat, epiglottitis, and esophagitis are some possible causes of pain when swallowing.

Throat infections are one of the most common causes of pain when swallowing. These include strep throat, which is an infection with Streptococcal bacteria.

People with strep throat may also notice:

  • swollen, tender lymph nodes on one or both sides of the neck
  • pain in the soft palate
  • red spots on the soft palate
  • fever
  • white patches on the tonsils

Tonsillitis

Tonsillitis is an infection and inflammation of the tonsils, which are two lymph nodes at the back of the throat. Tonsillitis is a common cause of painful swallowing.

Tonsillitis is a contagious condition. Viruses or bacterial infections, including strep throat, can cause tonsillitis.

If the pain when swallowing is due to tonsillitis, people may also notice:

  • swollen tonsils
  • white or yellow spots on the tonsils
  • bad breath
  • tender jaw or neck
  • fever

Epiglottitis

Epiglottitis is a throat infection that causes inflammation of the epiglottis, which is the flap in the back of the throat that prevents food from going down the windpipe.

In addition to pain when swallowing, typical symptoms of epiglottitis include:

  • difficulty swallowing, known as dysphagia
  • a high fever
  • drooling
  • a preference for sitting leaning forward

A yeast infection

Yeast infections in the mouth, throat, or food pipe can also lead to discomfort swallowing. Yeast is a type of fungus that can grow out of control if the conditions inside the body change in a way that promotes yeast growth.

A bacteria called Candida is a common cause of yeast infections.

Additional symptoms might include:

  • loss of taste
  • white patches on the tongue
  • redness in the corners of the mouth

Esophagitis

The food pipe, also called the esophagus, is the pipe that carries food and liquid from the mouth to the stomach. Esophagitis is inflammation of the esophagus.

The most common cause of esophagitis is gastric reflux disease, which is a condition that allows stomach acid to flow back up the food pipe.

Certain medications and allergic reactions can also cause esophagitis.

Esophagitis can cause the following symptoms alongside painful swallowing:

  • chest pain
  • stomach pain
  • a hoarse voice
  • coughing
  • heartburn
  • nausea

Throat injury

Although less common than other causes, an injury to the throat can also lead to pain when swallowing.

Eating or drinking something that is too hot can burn the inside of the throat or food pipe. People can also scratch or cut the back of their throat when eating a cracker or chip that has a sharp edge.

Depending on the location and extent of the injury, there may only be pain on one side of the throat or further down in the food pipe.

Lifecoach: What is causing my burning throat?

Other foods and drinks that may trigger symptoms include fizzy drinks, spicy, acidic and high-fat foods, peppermint, garlic and onions. Coffee, tea and chocolate have also been reported to have a detrimental effect. Keeping a food diary will help identify your triggers. Try to sit up straight when eating, and don’t lie down for three hours after eating. Small, frequent meals help too.

A DAN RUTHERFORD WRITES:

These symptoms strongly suggest reflux up the gullet (oesophagus), of food and stomach acid, as described by Sara. The stomach has an acid-resistant lining but the oesophagus does not, and although the muscle of the lower oesophagus is there to act as a valve and prevent reflux, it can be easily overcome in people who are a bit overweight. Dietary or other triggers can also cause it to relax.

Proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs), such as omeprazole and lansoprazole are extremely effective at switching off stomach acid production and treating GORD symptoms, and are among the most prescribed drugs in the world. These drugs have also considerably reduced the numbers of people getting acid damage to the lower gullet, which in severe cases used to give rise to scarring and narrowing of the gullet – a nasty condition that is not easy to treat.

However, one problem is that PPIs are so good that self-help measures, such as weight loss, can get sidelined. This is a mistake, as none of these needs to be onerous. Often losing just a couple of pounds allows the gullet valve to stay closed. Raising the head of the bed by putting 2in blocks under the legs can work wonders. Certainly your high alcohol intake should be cut back, for your general good too.

Not everyone who gets GORD has heartburn, and it is increasingly recognised to be a cause of recurrent sore throats. Although PPI drugs can remove the symptoms for most people, there are additional medications that can help those who get incomplete relief despite taking the measures mentioned above.

Reader’s response

I have found that if I drink Coca-Cola or Pepsi before I go to bed, after consuming beer, then the after-effects of alcohol are greatly reduced. This appears, for me, to address the electrolyte imbalance.

I have discussed this with others who switch from beer to a mixed alcoholic drink that includes either Coca-Cola or Pepsi. They say that they have a less severe hangover the following morning.

This is all anecdotal, but I hope it may be of use.

Tom Long, St Helens

NEXT WEEK Sports drinks

Send your comments to our life coaches’ online forum at telegraph.co.uk/health

Alcohol

Alcohol is one of those substances which are fine in moderation but damaging if taken to excess. Excessive alcohol consumption causes a range of problems which includes your throat.

A couple of drinks in a week are acceptable but large amounts coupled with smoking are one of the biggest risk factors for throat and mouth cancer.

A common situation is where someone has a few drinks in a bar with their friends and decides to smoke as well. But doing this will place them in the highest risk group for throat cancer.

The effect of alcohol on your throat

Consuming large amounts of alcohol causes the tissues within the throat to dry out which increases the risk of an infection. Alcohol also changes the way parts of the throat work, for example the epiglottis.

Copious amounts of alcohol also inflame the sensitive membranes within the throat.

Many people drink alcohol when they have a dry or sore throat in the belief that this will ease it but the opposite is true. What happens is that the alcohol dries the tissues out which further exacerbates their sore throat.

Alcohol has been linked to a range of diseases of the head, neck and throat.

Note: if you have a bacterial throat infection and are taking antibiotics for this then avoid alcohol. It is tempting to have a few drinks, hoping that this will relieve any symptoms and help you to sleep.

But it is dangerous to combine alcohol with any form of medication.

If you are suffering from a sore throat then choose a soft drink, water or a fruit smoothie instead.

Drinking alcohol puts you in a league with 70 percent of Americans who also do. And though nights spent with a beer, a glass of your favorite vino, or a mixed drink might seem like harmless fun, do you really know how it’s affecting your body?

Like all things, alcohol is meant to be enjoyed in moderation. Drinking heavily can take a heavy toll on your body.

This animagraph is a breakdown of the science of drinking, one step at a time.

Effects of Alcohol on the Mouth, Throat, and Esophagus

Alcohol consumption and its effects start with the point of entry. Alcohol is an irritant; it burns when it touches any bodily surface, as you may know if you’ve ever used it as a disinfectant on a cut.

When you take an initial sip of alcohol, the impact is not different – especially when you consume a high-proof liquor. You’ll notice an immediate burning sensation as it goes into your mouth and down the delicate lining of your esophagus.

It’s a burn that could eventually kill your body’s living tissues. With prolonged, heavy consumption, alcohol can lead to the development of various head and neck cancers. Drinking five drinks or more a day can double or triple your risk of developing cancer in your mouth, throat, or voice box.

The Effects of Alcohol on the Stomach

As alcohol travels to the stomach, it’s absorbed into the bloodstream or passes through to the intestines.

However, some alcohol does neither. Some can stay in the stomach, increasing the stomach’s acidity and irritating its protective lining. This irritation, when experienced chronically, can lead to corrosion of the stomach lining. Even moderate alcohol consumption can give rise to or exacerbate existing stomach and intestinal ulcers.

When the alcohol travels to the small intestine, it can do damage by interrupting the digestive system. It blocks the body from absorbing thiamin, folic acid, fat, Vitamin B1, B12, and amino acids.

The Effects of Alcohol on the Heart

On a short-term basis, as alcohol passes through the heart, it can cause inflammation of the muscle’s walls. However, it’s long-term drinking and even shorter-term binge drinking that have the worst effects on the heart’s functions.

Both long-term drinking and binge drinking negatively affect heart rate, disrupting its rhythm by causing it to speed up or beat irregularly.

Worse, it can lead to a condition called alcoholic cardiomyopathy. This condition – which can include the conditions of cardiomegaly or dilated cardiomyopathy (translation: big, underperforming heart muscle) – causes heart muscles to weaken from repeated toxic exposure from alcohol abuse over time. The heart’s pumping function becomes inefficient and reduces its effectiveness at sending blood throughout the body, which wreaks havoc on various organ systems by depriving them of blood.

Long-term drinking and binge drinking can not only lead to other disastrous heart problems, such as hypertension, but it can also lead to strokes. In fact, binge drinkers are 56 percent more likely to suffer from an ischemic stroke over a 10-year period.

The Effects of Alcohol on the Bloodstream

Studies show that moderate alcohol intake can result in a “blood thinning” phenomenon. However, excessive alcohol use can elicit quite the opposite reaction. Once alcohol is in the bloodstream, it can lead to a hypercoagulable state – bringing platelets and red blood cells together, causing them to clump up. These “sticky” red blood cells increase the chance of clot formation and can slow circulation and deprive tissues of needed oxygen.

Alcohol’s presence in the bloodstream can have adverse effects on the body’s ability to fight off illness or infection, because it diminishes white blood cells’ ability to battle bacteria or other foreign pathogens, making it easier for you to get sick.

The Effects of Alcohol on the Brain

It’s the effects of alcohol on the brain that make it so desirable – and dangerous.

Though we often hear alcohol is a depressant, and it is, alcohol increases the release of dopamine in the brain’s reward centers, which is what gives drinking alcohol its pleasurable sensation. As you keep drinking, the dopamine effect diminishes, putting you at risk for feeling the need to go back to the well more often. This is how alcohol addiction begins.

Alcohol depresses brain centers, enhances effects of calming agents on the brain, and slows down the rate at which information travels down the brain’s highways. This is what causes its disorienting effects as well as deterioration of motor skills and judgment. If you drink too much alcohol, these brain centers can become so severely impaired that you could fall into a coma or die.

The depression of brain centers can also trigger adverse effects on memory. Even just a few drinks can impact your memory in a big way, rendering you unable to recall parts of events or even entire nights. Studies show females are also more susceptible to these effects than men due to the differences in how the genders metabolize alcohol.

The Effects of Alcohol on the Liver

When the liver attempts to break down alcohol, the resulting reaction can create inflammation (alcoholic hepatitis) and, over time, irreversible damage to the liver. Over time, this type of of prolonged stress to the liver can result in profound liver changes, such as enlargement, scarring, or cirrhosis – a deadly condition when severe.

Alcohol also inflames the liver’s cells, causing swelling that can trap or inhibit normal bile flow. If bile buildup occurs, the skin and eyes will turn yellow, a condition called jaundice. Jaundice results when a red blood cell breakdown pigment (known as bilirubin and normally excreted in bile) is reabsorbed in the blood and deposited abnormally in other body tissues. Jaundice is an ominous sign in the setting of alcohol abuse and can point to the development of end-stage liver failure.

The Effects of Alcohol on the Pancreas

Prolonged binge drinking can cause irreversible damage to the pancreas, a two-in-one hormone-producing endocrine and digestive exocrine gland. Even a single, isolated incident of binge drinking has been known to result in an episode of acute pancreatitis. Alcoholic inflammation of the pancreas can lead to chronic fibrosis, which can cause insufficiency in both the exocrine (digestive enzymes) and endocrine (insulin) systems. When inflammation blocks digestive enzymes from being released normally into the GI tract, they can attack the pancreas itself, as well as seep out to other surrounding tissues. The resulting auto-digestion of previously healthy tissues can lead to acute hemorrhagic pancreatitis and pseudo-cyst formation. Yes, it’s as unpleasant as it sounds – and could be a surgical emergency.

Pancreatitis can lead to other medical conditions as well, such as severe abdominal pain, diabetes, jaundice, and even circulatory collapse.

It’s worth noting that not everyone suffers from these conditions. Some are more susceptible than others. A person who drinks as little as 20g or more than 200g of alcohol could develop these complications. Others, no matter how much they drink, will never develop these issues. But there’s always a risk.

The Effects of Alcohol on the Bladder/Kidneys

Alcohol is a diuretic. The more you take in, the more you urinate. It’s a mildly inconvenient effect of alcohol on the bladder and kidneys.

However, alcohol can have a much more sinister effect for long-term drinkers or binge drinkers. Alcohol can inflame the lining of the bladder, causing it to swell and stretch to a dangerous size. If it swells, it can block flow to the kidneys, which could cause renal failure.

Know What Alcohol Can Do

While some are able to enjoy alcohol in moderation, its potential for abuse is difficult to ignore. Our lengthy list of disastrous health effects should underscore alcohol’s dangerous potential. Encouragingly, recovery from alcohol, as well as medical treatment for many of its associated health conditions, can occur simultaneously. If you’re concerned that binge drinking or chronic excessive alcohol abuse is negatively impacting your own health, or that of someone you love, or you have already experienced any of the aforementioned health consequences, now is the time for help – call 1-888-744-0069Who Answers?, 24 hours a day, to speak to a support advisor about alcohol addiction treatment options today.

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Most of us have had a moment when we chose to socialize and drink despite being sick. One moment you’re happy and hygge, the next you’re trying to stifle a cough so it doesn’t spray germs all over the bar. Actually, people say drinking hot toddies is good for you when you have a cold, because they’ll alleviate a cough, soothe a sore throat, and basically put you to sleep. But is that legit or just something we tell ourselves to justify going out?

First of all, a classic hot toddy is a hot drink made with bourbon, honey, lemon juice, and hot water. Sometimes people mix up the recipe and make it with tea or a tea-like base, along with other spices, like cinnamon and cloves. But the dark booze and lemon juice are pretty standard.

Watch: 7 Signs You Could Have Strep Throat (Health.com)

Technically, a warm drink like a hot toddy would be helpful for someone who has a sore throat, phlegm in their chest, or a stuffy nose, says Alexis Halpern, MD, emergency medicine physician at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Certain types of honey, like manuka, have an antimicrobial effect on the body, which can ease a sore throat. Lemons contain vitamin C, and although that likely won’t be enough to kick your cold, having a little flavor in your H2O could get you to drink more water.

But obviously many people order hot toddies for the alcohol in it. The alcohol in a hot toddy (or any drink, really) will likely help you fall asleep, Dr. Halpern says. “But, alcohol can delay getting better from any illness,” she says. When you’re sick, your body is working hard to get rid of the virus that’s causing the illness. Alcohol not only weakens your immune system, but also adds yet another toxin to your body that needs to be cleared out, she says.

Also, alcohol is a vasodilator, meaning it makes blood vessels expand and relax, Dr. Halpern says. When you have a stuffy nose, it’s because the lining of your nasal passage is inflamed, and the blood vessels are dilated. Drinking alcohol could amp up this vasodilation, making you even stuffier.

So, while a night out with your friends and a few drinks might seem like just the cure you need, it’ll actually just sideline you longer — and make you a walking incubus of viral plague.

Related: 23 Best Soft Foods to Eat After Surgery (Eat This, Not That!)

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are the author’s own and MSN does not endorse them in any way. Neither can MSN independently verify any claims made in the article. You should consult your physician before starting any weight loss or health management programme to determine if it is right for your needs.

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