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Can Drinking Water Prevent Flu Symptoms?


Although drinking water is an important part of staying healthy, H2O alone may not be enough to prevent flu symptoms. Instead, it helps your body perform key functions, which boosts your immune system and may indirectly prevent or reduce the severity of symptoms.

To take advantage of this “immune system boost” and help maintain overall health, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids. However, there’s more than one way to use water in your fight against flu season.

Here’s what to know about the connections between water, your immune system and common cold and flu symptoms.

Water and Your Immune System

The human body is between 78% and 55% water, depending on your age. It makes sense that this abundant fluid plays a big role in health — especially when it comes to your immune system. While water itself may not directly prevent flu symptoms, it supports processes that do.

Check out these key ways water helps keep you healthy:

Improving Hydration

Hydration is important for everything from sleep and mood to organ health and joint comfort. It can even help prevent some infections. Drinking water is one of the best and healthiest ways to stay hydrated, as it doesn’t include calories or added sugar.

If you already have flu symptoms, drinking water is especially important. That’s because many of these issues – upset stomach, fever, a runny nose – can contribute to dehydration, which is why you’ve likely heard that it’s important to drink plenty of fluids while sick.

Moistening Mucus Membranes

Mucus membranes in the nose help trap things like bacteria, preventing these contaminants from reaching other body systems. Water keeps this membrane moist enough to work properly.

Supporting White Blood Cells

White blood cells make antibodies and attack invaders in the bloodstream, helping your immune system do its job. This process is enabled by water, which helps white blood cells get where they need to go.

Regulating Temperature

One of the most common cold symptoms is a fever. Although fevers can be a normal, healthy part of the immune system, they can also be uncomfortable — and luckily, water helps make fevers more manageable by regulating the body’s core temperature. This most often occurs through respiration and sweating.

How Much Water Does Your Immune System Need?

Different bodies have different needs when it comes to water. The general recommendation for how much water to drink per day is about 15.5 cups (or 3.7 liters) per day for men and 11.5 cups (or 2.7 liters) per day for women.

However, many factors impact your water needs, including:

  • Physical activity: When you’re exercising, your body loses fluid through sweat. The more you work out, the more you should drink to stay healthy and hydrated.
  • Environment: Hot or humid weather also makes you lose more fluid. In some cases, high altitudes may also have an impact on dehydration.
  • Health: Plenty of health problems, including flu and the common cold, make dehydration more likely. If you cannot drink enough fluid, you may need to see your healthcare provider.
  • Age: Kids and teens may not need as much water as adults. However, they may need to be reminded to get hydration from water and healthy beverages instead of sugary drinks.

No matter how much fluid you need, it’s important to make drinking water a habit — that way, you remember to do it. Drinking water filtration could help make your tap water look, smell and even taste better, which means you’ll be able to enjoy every sip.

Need to make great-tasting filtered water quick, easy and accessible?
Check out our reverse osmosis systems or bottled water delivery service.

Water and More: Tips for Staying Healthy

Although water plays a key role in your immune system, it likely won’t prevent cold symptoms on its own. Here are a few ways to get more out of water and turn it into your secret weapon this flu season:

1. Clean Surfaces
Germs are everywhere. Be prepared with disinfecting wipes in places where cleaning spray, water or paper towels are not readily available for example, the car or office. Similarly, make sure to wipe down shared items and spaces like desks, doorknobs and all that equipment at the gym.

In addition to cleaning surfaces, regularly wash your hands with warm water and soap. Make sure to scrub for the full 20 seconds. Taking this extra measure can kill the bacteria before it has a chance to spread.

2. Get Fluids From Multiple Sources
Although drinking water is a great way to stay hydrated, it’s not the only way to stay hydrated. There’s healthy fluid in some of your favorite foods, too — and in addition to keeping you happy and energized, a varied diet helps support your immune system. That means you can hydrate and help prevent flu symptoms just by choosing a healthy snack, including:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Yogurt

3. Exercise Regularly
Although it’s not known exactly how exercise impacts the immune system, it’s clear that a little physical activity goes a long way for your overall health.

One possible benefit of exercise on the immune system is the improvement of blood flow — which, in turn, helps white blood cells move through your body more efficiently. Other theories about exercise say that it might:

Flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways
Raise body temperature and prevent bacterial growth
Slow the release of stress hormones that may increase the chance of illness

No matter how physical activity interacts with immunity, one thing’s for sure: Exercise encourages you to drink more water. That helps keep you hydrated, which helps keep you healthy.

4. Get Plenty of Good Sleep
Sleep helps your body fight off infections. Depending on your age, you may need anywhere from six to 10 hours per night — and, most importantly, it needs to be high-quality sleep.

How does water factor into this story? Simple: You need to think carefully about when and how much you drink, especially before bed. Try to get most of your hydration during the day. That way, you don’t have to get up in the middle of the night and interrupt the sleep processes that help boost your immune system.

5. Be Smart About Caffeine and Alcohol
Caffeine and alcohol aren’t the best ways to stay hydrated. That’s because they’re both diuretics, which can increase the frequency or amount of urination. As such, too much coffee or casual drinking could undermine your other hydration efforts, leaving your immune system working harder to pick up the slack.

Boost Your Immune System With Better Water

Water may not be a miracle worker on its own, but it’s a huge part of staying healthy — especially if you’re trying to prevent flu symptoms or get over the common cold.

If you want to boost your immune system with every sip, your first step is to make sure you always have great-tasting, high-quality water easily at hand. Ensure your water is up to the task by having it tested and finding out the best filtration system for you. Get started with your free water test and consultation today.

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