Q: Can I drink wine if I have the flu?—Amaryllis, Teaneck, N.J.
A: Influenza, better known as the flu, is a class of contagious viruses that cause mild to severe respiratory illness. "The general rule is that if you don't feel well enough to do your normal daily routine, it isn't a great idea to drink alcohol," otolaryngologist Dr. Jason Abramowitz of ENT and Allergy Associates in New York told Wine Spectator. "While wine has certain antioxidants that some studies say can help prevent the cold and flu, once you are sick, alcohol can make things worse.”
"Specifically, wine can dehydrate you," he adds, "which can worsen symptoms of the flu. Alcohol can also have a sedative effect, which can sometimes add to the side effects of many cold and flu medications. If you have a cold, a glass of wine here and there is OK, but don't overdo it." Dr. Abramowitz recommends against drinking alcohol if you have a fever, as well. As always, consult your personal physician if you're unsure about the health effects of consuming wine.