The Russian H1N1 flu remedy
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Kingdom has 16,556 confirmed cases of the H1N1 virus (can I still call it the swine flu). Models by UK’s Health Protection Agency estimates there are currently 110,000 people infected with the swine flu (+/- 50,000 people). The Russian soccer team is traveling to the UK next month for the World Cup qualifying round. How does the Russian soccer supporting organization, VOB, feel about this?
“We don’t want our team to be without any support for such an important match so we urge our fans to go to Wales despite the health warning,” spokesman Alexander Shprygin said.
The soccer organization [read NOT a health organization] does offer suggestions for their soccer fans to prevent infection from the virus, a virus to which humans currently have no immunity. They suggest drinking Welsh whiskey. The irresponsibility of this suggestion does not stop there. VOB head Shprygin also goes on to say drinking the whiskey “should cure all symptoms of the disease.” People around the world are dying from the H1N1 virus, and the Russians were holding out on a cure all along. Just drink Welsh whiskey.
“Russian fans don’t fear anything or anybody so this virus will not stand in our way of supporting our team.”
The Russians will bring home some interesting souvenirs with this attitude, most notably the H1N1 virus.
Does alcohol prevent colds?
Well, sort of. If you are rubbing it on your hands it will help prevent colds. Drinking Welsh whiskey, however, is not likely to help you. An alcohol-based hand cleaner will probably work better (as a hand sanitizer, not as a beverage!).
This belief probably comes from your grandmother’s remedy of a hot toddy. The idea is the alcohol destroys germs in your bloodstream. Unfortunately, there are no scientific studies showing alcohol will help you repel cold infections, however, there are plenty of studies demonstrating too much alcohol will make a cold worse. Too many drinks will weaken the immune system, making it much more difficult to fight off your infection.
There are some studies showing positive effects from moderate drinking of alcohol, but nothing conclusive. There are many studies showing alcohol has a negative effect as well. Alcohol dehydrates your system, which could prolong your symptoms. Until a study comes out with rock solid evidence, I’d abstain from alcohol when you are sick.
Is there anything red wine can’t do?
Red wine seems to be an exception. Moderate amounts of red wine will help keep you healthy (2 glasses a day), but it is not the alcohol helping you. Red wine contains high amounts of antioxidants, which help to keep you healthy. Of course you could also drink grape juice or some other beverage with high amounts of antioxidants, but that is not nearly as much fun.
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