Is it Safe to Drink Coffee When Sick?

crazy by Editorial Staff | Updated on April 24th, 2023

The winter season is approaching, and with it comes to all sorts of health ailments: colds, the flu, fevers, and nasal congestion… which might halt our activities and affect our performance. Of course, when this happens, the last thing we want is to get sicker and hold back even more, so we start to worry about all sorts of stuff: can I drink this? Can I eat that? What could make me sicker?

Can I drink coffee when I am sick?


Many people are asking themselves these questions about coffee, but there’s no need to worry. It is OK to drink coffee when sick, and it won’t hinder your performance or recovery. In addition, a cup or two of coffee per day while you are sick can help to encourage your immune system while battling illness.

Can I Drink Coffee When I Am Sick?

A study done by psychologists at the University of Bristol also found that the caffeine in coffee reduces the general sluggishness associated with colds. Coffee is a stimulant, making your heart pump faster and raise your blood pressure. It is also a diuretic, meaning you might be forced to pee out the excess liquids that your body can’t handle.

Benefits of Coffee when sick


Coffee also has many health benefits: caffeine will improve performance time, clear up brain fog, and even might increase performance function; it contains many essential nutrients and vitamins like manganese, potassium, niacin, and magnesium riboflavin… and it even has a lot of antioxidants.

In addition, research suggests the antioxidant activity from coffee, specifically ferulic and caffeic acids, has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral effects, which can all be helpful to the body in healing from an illness.

So, coffee is not only OK to drink when you are sick, but it might also be helpful with particular illnesses like migraine or depression and even help you recover faster or increase your performance in cases of other small ailments. So, is it OK to drink coffee when I have a cold or the flu? Of course, it is, as long as you keep hydrated.

In fact, due to its antioxidants which help the immune system fight infection, coffee might help you recover faster, some studies say. Not only that, but the caffeine can help lift the brain fog and grogginess usually associated with common colds or the flu, so it might be beneficial to drink coffee when sick!

Sleep is crucial


On the other hand, be careful about caffeine and don’t drink any coffee from 6 to 8 hours before sleeping because it might interfere with restful sleep, which is crucial when recovering from an illness. Research shows that your immune system is at its best when you’re getting enough sleep, and coffee can potentially mess with your shut-eye.

What about the cough? Is coffee good for it?

The consensus differs. An old wives’ remedy says drinking coffee with honey on a sore throat is great to help soothe it, and some doctors say the caffeine might help open the airways and breathe better. On the other hand, other doctors think that coffee diuretic properties might dehydrate the throat, making it feel even dryer and raspier. So, the consensus is not clear here. Drink coffee at your discretion!

What about fevers? Can coffee health with it?

Again, the consensus is not clear. For example, some therapists say that due to its diuretic and stimulating properties, coffee might make you sweat more, which might help lower fever, and it will ease the symptoms of fatigue and the brain fog that usually come with an uproar.

On the other hand, some studies point at coffee raising your body heat and your basal metabolism, which would worsen the fever and make you feel worse; and the caffeine might interfere with a restful sleep which your body will need when you are running a fever. So, again, drink coffee at your discretion because the consensus is unclear.

So, while it is OK to have coffee when sick, and in some instances, it is helpful and conducive to recovery, in others, it might be detrimental, so you should be wary of it.

However, when not sick, coffee has lots of health benefits like preventing type 2 diabetes, preventing certain types of cancer, preventing stroke, helping boost your performance and memory retention, helping with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and providing you with vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants… so, when you are not sick, feel free to have one or two cups of coffee every day!

(while still exercising caution: the effects of caffeine still apply when not sick, it increases blood pressure and heart rate; it interferes with restful sleep; it makes you have a shorter fuse and react more aggressively, and caffeine overdose is a problem that can happen, and it is scary. So be careful with your caffeine consumption !)

Some medications can interact with coffee.

Coffee also interacts with certain drugs, so if you take one, you should avoid coffee.

In particular, caffeine can reinforce the effects of stimulant drugs such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), which is used to help relieve cold and flu symptoms. It can also interact with antibiotics you may receive if you have bacterial infections. But, again, regular coffee drinkers can tolerate these drugs, as their bodies have become accustomed to their effects.

Before choosing to drink coffee with these drugs, you should talk to a healthcare professional.

Another option is to drink decaf coffee while taking these drugs, as caffeine in coffee causes these interactions. However, while decaf contains trace amounts of caffeine, such small amounts may not cause drug interactions.

What are some alternatives to coffee when sick?

If you decide to give up coffee while sick (or otherwise), there are several alternatives. For example, black tea contains about half the amount of caffeine per 12-ounce cup (50 mg versus 100 mg), while matcha green tea has about one-third (30 mg); it also is packed with antioxidants and can promote alertness without the jitters you might get from coffee.

Turmeric is another alternative beverage option. Studies show that roots can decrease inflammation and stiffness and help ease digestive upset.

Soup is always a good alternative; sipping bone broth, warm water with lemon, or a hot cocoa drink. A ginger tonic made with fresh ginger, lemon, cayenne, cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper, and hot water can also help relieve symptoms of minor diseases.


Editorial Staff

The editorial staff at Crazy Coffee Crave is a team of coffee enthusiasts & Baristas who enjoy the one thing we all think about as soon as we get up in the morning. Trusted by thousands of readers worldwide.