Doctors Refute Claim that Coffee Prevents Colds

Photo by Julius Schorzman via Wikimedia Commons

As people have come down with summer colds around Taiwan, a claim has circulated on messaging app LINE claiming that drinking coffee will prevent catching a cold.

The information circulating online said that drinking coffee can help with cold-related symptoms such as runny nose, cough, and headaches. It said that drinking a two to three cups of warm water followed by a cup of hot coffee three to five minutes later will increase urination, which will help expel the virus from the body.

It also claimed that drinking coffee will boost overall immune function.

Doctors have come out to caution people about the claims, Liberty Times reported. Physician Yeh Kuo-wei (葉國偉) at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Linkou said that no such claims have been made by doctors. Dr. Yeh added that increased urination will not increase recovery time from a cold or flu.

Dr. Yeh said that the best advice for treating a cold or flu is to drink plenty of water and get more rest. As for improving overall immune system health, the doctor said that people should ensure they get adequate sleep and maintain a healthy diet.

The LINE rumors may be connected with two recent studies, one from International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and Imperial College London and another publish in the Annals of Internal Medicine, that purport drinking two to three cups of coffee per day is beneficial to health.

Experts said that the studies did not explicitly show that coffee was the main reason people lived longer, according to Channel News Asia. The studies showed that the people who drank coffee lived longer, but they did not record information on other health habits that could have an effect.

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