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Hot drinks really do have an effect on colds and flu, say scientists

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There is now scientific evidence to back the popular use of hot drinks to help fight the symptoms of cold and flu.

Cardiff University’s Common Cold Centre compared the effects of a commercially produced cordial apple and blackcurrant drink either ‘hot’ or at room temperature in 30 volunteers with common cold symptoms.

The hot drink provided immediate and sustained relief from symptoms of runny nose, cough, sneezing, sore throat, chilliness and tiredness, whereas the same drink at room temperature only provided relief from symptoms of runny nose, cough and sneezing, the authors said.

The centre’s director Professor Ron Eccles said: ‘It is surprising that this is the first scientific research on the benefit of a hot drink for treating cold and flu symptoms.’

‘With temperatures falling and Christmas just round the corner, cold viruses love this time of year. Having a bottle of fruit cordial in the cupboard and making a hot drink could help fight off the symptoms of festive cold and flu. The big advantage of this type of treatment is that it is cheap as well as safe and effective.’

Rhinology (2008) 46: 271-275

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