How to Fight the Flu and Other Illnesses by Staying Hydrated

Staying hydrated lets your body circulate blood more freely, allowing flu-and-cold-fighting white blood cells better fight off viruses.

By: Maggie Pace

Why drinking fluids helps prevent sickness and speeds up recovery

Does drinking water help keep you from getting sick and speed up recovery when fighting the flu and other illnesses?

Water makes up about 60% of the human body, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that hydration has a significant impact on overall health and your ability to combat illnesses. Doctors and medical experts believe approximately 75% of Americans don’t drink enough water each day. This is important, as it indicates a majority of people aren’t putting themselves in the best position to prevent sickness.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive deep into how hydration affects your ability to prevent sickness and recover if you do fall ill.

Does drinking water prevent sickness?

Drinking your daily recommended amount of water doesn’t guarantee you won’t get sick, but it does help fight off illnesses through a few ways.

First and foremost, staying hydrated helps keep the mucus membranes of your nasal passages moist so they can catch viral invaders before entering your body. This is your body’s first line of defense. If something does slip throughfluids help your body circulate blood more freely, enabling virus fighting white blood cells to reach their target faster so they don’t have as much time to replicate. Furthermore, drinking water also adds oxygen to your blood—which helps ensure all your body’s systems have enough oxygen to function at their best level to remove toxins and speed up recovery.

Why drink fluids when sick?

If all your best efforts aren’t enough and you do catch a cold, flu or another virushydration becomes extremely important.

When you are sick, you need to increase your water intake to replace fluids lost to congestion, fever and vomiting among other factors. Additionally, the medicine you take to dry and clear out your system can sometimes contribute to dehydration. Not to mention, your metabolism may speed up when you get sickwhich will require additional fluids due to the increased activity.

WHat To Drink — and not to drink — when sick

There’s a lot of misconceptions about what you should and shouldn’t drink when you’re sick. To shed insight on this topic, here’s a breakdown on how popular beverages affect hydration when you’re sick:

Sports Drinks

Contrary to what many people believe, research indicates sports drinks are not a good solution for illness-related dehydration. In fact, Texas A&M University did a study on this subject and found that popular sports related beverages such as Gatorade had too much sugar and not enough sodium or potassium. Researchers explained that sports drinks were fine for healthy individuals following intense exercise, but they should not be recommended for people dealing with an illness.

Hot Liquids and Caffeinated Beverages

Hot liquids such as warm herbal teas or even soup can be beneficial when you’re sick, as they help clear out congestion. However, you should make sure the tea you’re drinking isn’t caffeinated because this can further dehydrate your body. On the same note, avoid other caffeinated beverages such as coffee, soda, and energy drinks.


This may seem obvious, but many people wonder about the effects of alcohol on the body when you’re sick. Alcohol not only dehydrates your body, it’s seen as a toxin so cells prioritize removing the alcohol over the virus you’re currently dealing with. Furthermore, alcohol can also alter the affect of any medication or antibiotics you’re on while sick. As a result, you should avoid all alcohol when sick.


Water is far and away the best thing to drink when you’re sick, as it’s the resource your body urgently needs when you’re sick. Although other beverages contain water, it’s better to give it to your body straight so your cells can put it to direct use. It’s important to note though, that you want to make sure the water you drink doesn’t contain harmful contaminants which can negatively affect your health.

The best way for you to enjoy clean, healthy water is by using a water filter such as Aquasana’s 3-Stage Max Flow Under Sink Water Filter—which reduces 77 contaminants including chlorine, lead, asbestos, pesticides, and more. It features a dedicated faucet and super fast flow rate.

How much water to drink when sick?

The common recommendation is eight glasses of water a day, but science suggests a more accurate amount is roughly 15 cups/day for men and 11 cups/day for women. However, if you do end up getting sicktry to maintain that or go a little bit above to replenish lost fluids. Don’t try to overdue it and drink far above the daily recommendation, as this can actually lead to a condition called hyponatremia in which the body holds onto too much water and dilutes the amount of sodium in the blood.

While sick, you may feel a decrease in thirst or appetite which can make it difficult to drink enough water. To combat this, try to drink a little bit of water every few minutes opposed to a large amount of water every few hours. The importance of filtration should also be reiterated, as better health starts with the healthiest water possible. To reduce contaminants and improve the quality of your tap water, consider our no-installation required Clean Water Machine—which offers clean, healthy water at the touch of a button. Plus, the Clean Water Machine is 10x stronger and has a 8x longer filter life than other leading pitcher filters.

Fight the flu and other illnesses naturally by staying hydrated

Drinking water is one of the best things you can do for your health. It helps prevent sickness and speeds up recovery if you do fall ill. Considering the importance water plays in your overall health, it’s essential for you to make sure the water you drink is filtered to minimize harmful contaminants.

Aquasana has several solutions to help you enjoy healthy, great-tasting water from anywhere in the house. Our whole house water filters can help you enjoy clean water from every faucet in your home, and our Claryum® Countertop Water Filter offers an easy solution with minimal installation.

Consider installing a water filter in your home to make sure you and your loved ones have a way to stay hydrated through healthy, great-tasting water.