A hot toddy for your cold: Whiskey could help relieve cold symptoms

Ever thought "I could use a drink-" as you sniffle your way through a cold? Turns out, a little whiskey in moderation could help alleviate some of those pesky symptoms.

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Next time the common cold has you under the weather, consider sipping on a hot toddy -- traditionally made with whiskey, hot water, lemon and honey. The hot water can help relieve nasal congestion, Dr. William Schaffner, chair of preventative medicine at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, told ABC News.

"The alcohol dilates blood vessels a little bit, and that makes it easier for your mucus membranes to deal with the infection," Schaffner said.

Be mindful, though, that the drink can't prevent or cure the cold or flu virus, Schaffner said.

The alcohol in whiskey can help a cold sufferer fall asleep easier, and plenty of rest is recommended for fighting the illness. Just know that alcohol-induced sleep might not be so restful -- studies have shown that alcohol can disrupt REM sleep.

Finally, it's important to not go overboard with the whiskey cocktails. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it causes the kidneys to get rid of fluids faster that normal. Anyone enjoying a Manhattan while sick should drink plenty of nonalcoholic liquids to stay hydrated.

Those who enjoy their whiskey responsibly could have a more bearable cold in the short-term. Cheers, and get well soon!

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