Does Drinking Water Help With Infection?

Does Drinking Water Help With Infection?

Drinking plenty of clean water is one of the best things you can do to help your body resist and recover from infections. Water supports nearly every aspect of the complex immune response needed to fight viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens.

This article will analyze the science-backed ways proper hydration aids infection prevention and response. It also covers how much water you need when sick, what types are most beneficial, and the advantages of filtration systems like Artic Refresh. Read on to understand why staying optimally hydrated is critical for supporting immunity and health.

Overview: The Vital Role of Water in Infection Defense

Before diving into specifics, here is an overview of the key ways hydration helps the body fight and protect against infections:

  • Carries immune cells and proteins throughout the body to detect pathogens
  • Transports key nutrients like vitamin C to immune cells
  • Allows lymph flow for efficient pathogen filtering
  • Flushes bacteria from the bladder and digestive tract
  • Keeps mucosal barriers moist to block pathogen entry
  • Regulates body temperature critical to controlling infection
  • Prevents conditions that increase risk like UTI and constipation
  • Thins mucus for easier coughing and expulsion of viruses
  • Fuels the greatly increased metabolic demands of active immune response
  • Allows kidneys to filter bacterial toxins from the bloodstream

As you will see, water’s role is far more than just quenching thirst when sick. Proper hydration actively supports the immune system’s efforts to eradicate pathogens invading your body.

Hydration Enables Immune Cell Mobility

The immune system relies on white blood cells like lymphocytes, neutrophils, and macrophages that must circulate the body to detect and attack pathogens. Without adequate water, immune cells can’t efficiently move via circulation.

  • Dehydration thickens blood, making it harder for immune cells to migrate where needed. This slows reaction time to nascent infections.
  • Water provides the fluid medium immune cells need to flow freely and surround pathogens. Think of hydration as fuel for propelling immune police on patrol.
  • Immune cells dragged down by water deficiency can’t as effectively capture and consume pathogens through phagocytosis. Starving white blood cells of water blunts overall activity.

Proper hydration keeps blood viscosity optimal so immune cells move rapidly to engage infections before they spread. Don’t immobilize your immune army due to inadequate water.

Water Transports Nutrients Crucial for Immunity

The immune system depends on certain vitamins, minerals and amino acids to exert its protective effects. Chief among these is vitamin C, which cannot be synthesized by the body and must come from food and supplements.

Here’s the critical role water plays:

  • Hydration dissolves nutrients like vitamin C and amino acids so they can be absorbed from the GI tract into the bloodstream. Dehydration can reduce absorption.
  • Water acts as the carrier stream that transports vitamin C and other nutrients through circulation into immune cell tissues that need them.
  • Immune cells like lymphocytes accumulate high concentrations of vitamin C, which enhances their pathogen-fighting oxidative capabilities.
  • Proper hydration also optimizes metabolism of nutrients into active compounds that stimulate and strengthen immune defenses.

By ensuring nutrients like vitamin C efficiently reach immune cells, water meaningfully contributes to enhanced infection-resistance.

Lymph Flow Removes Pathogens

The lymphatic system serves as an important filtration system that catches pathogens in lymph nodes and transports them to be destroyed. But lymph only flows with adequate water. When dehydrated:

  • Lymph becomes thicker and stagnates, allowing pathogens to thrive rather than being filtered. This gives infections a foothold.
  • Less overall lymph volume means fewer pathogens are flushed from tissues and transported to lymph nodes to be killed.
  • Clogged lymph flow leads to inflamed nodes and causes pain and swelling that is commonly mistaken as illness symptoms rather than just congestion.

Hydrating with extra water when fighting infection optimizes lymph flow for more efficient pathogen removal and destruction. Drinking water literally helps your immune system flush the pathogens away.

Moistened Mucosal Barriers Resist Invasion

Mucosal tissues in areas like the nose, eyes, mouth, and lungs serve as critical infection entry points. Proper hydration keeps these mucosal barriers optimally moist to prevent pathogen penetration.

  • Water creates a slippery protective film along mucosal tissues that blocks pathogens from adhering and infiltrating.
  • Dried out mucosa enables pathogens to colonize, penetrate tissue, and bypass first-line defenses.
  • Nasal passages require sufficient moisture to efficiently trap and expel inhaled pathogens via mucus and ciliary clearance.
  • Hydration keeps the mucosal lining along the entire respiratory tract functional to capture invading threats.

Don’t give pathogens an easy opening through dehydration drying out your mucus membranes. Keep them moisturized with consistent water intake.

Water Temperature Regulation Fights Fever

Fever is a cardinal symptom of infection as the body raises core temperature to inhibit pathogen replication. But uncontrolled high fevers can be damaging. Here water helps:

  • Water makes up about 60% of body mass, providing a thermal buffer that prevents extreme fever spikes that are unsafe if left unchecked.
  • Hydration regulates the hypothalamus temperature setpoint so fever increases are gradual and controlled rather than dangerously rapid.
  • Water carries heat from the body core to the skin surface where heat dissipates for cooling. This thermal transfer reduces excessive fever levels.
  • Dehydration leads to more temperature extremes and volatility that hinders the precise fever response needed to benefit infection fighting.

While fever is beneficial, too high a temperature harms the body. Water acts as a thermal regulator to keep fever targeted and controlled when infected.

Hydration Combats UTI Risk

Urinary tract infections are among the most common infections. Pathogens like E. coli infiltrate the urinary tract and bladder. Adequate hydration flushes out UTIs while dehydration increases risk.

  • Fully hydrating washes away pathogens before they can establish bladder infections, which thrive in concentrated urine.
  • Drinking water creates continual urine output to expel bacteria rather than allowing pooled bacterial growth. This prevents cystitis and infections ascending to the kidneys.
  • Increasing water intake to 6-8 glasses daily makes urine inhospitable for bacterial colonization.
  • Low water intake concentrates urine with nutrients that feed microbial growth. Diluted urine starves out pathogens.

Given the risk, staying well hydrated is wise to lower probability of recurring UTIs. The more you void, the less pathogens can take hold in the bladder.

Water Keeps the Digestive Tract Moving

Gastrointestinal infections from Salmonella, Norovirus, and C. difficile occur through fecal-oral transmission. But hydration flushes GI pathogens before they can infect:

  • Drinking sufficient water keeps bowel movements regular – slowed motility increases pathogen exposure.
  • Loose stools from proper hydration rapidly expel bacteria and viruses rather than allowing luminal replication.
  • Pathogens disseminate through fecal shedding. Frequent voiding via hydration reduces transmission opportunities.
  • Dehydration allows biofilm bacterial overgrowth like C. diff as stools turn dry and stagnant.

Don’t give enteric pathogens a stagnant playground. Hydration creates continual flow and flushing through the GI tract for protection.

Thinned Mucus Improves Pathogen Expulsion

Coughing up mucus serves to physically remove pathogens from the respiratory tract. Adequate hydration keeps mucus thinner for more productive coughs:

  • Water keeps mucus more liquid so coughs are lubricated and pathogens easily ejected rather than only partially expelled.
  • Dehydration thickens mucus into rubbery, sticky concentrations that adhere inside airway linings and resist cough clearing.
  • Thinner phlegm is more easily coughed up and swallowed away while dehydrated mucus lingers harboring pathogens.
  • Drinking water also soothes coughs by coating irritated dry airway linings that trigger coughing fits.

To clear congestion and expel what the body aims to remove, drink water to allow easy flow rather than gluey secretions trapping germs internally.

Metabolic Support for Active Immune Response

Fighting infection massively increases metabolic activity of immune defenses and cells under attack. This expends high cellular energy and water:

  • Activated immune cells experience a respiratory burst consuming oxygen to unleash reactive chemicals that destroy pathogens. This rapid metabolism requires extra hydration.
  • Macrophages recruiting neutrophils to consume bacteria are like exerting athletes who perform optimally only with sufficient hydration.
  • High fever temperatures accelerate body metabolism by 10-12% per degree Fahrenheit rise, dramatically increasing water needs.
  • Pathogens themselves increase metabolism as they replicate, commandeering hydration from your cells.

Don’t allow the heightened metabolism the immune response demands to be hampered by inadequate hydration. Keep cellular energy and consumption optimized through ample water.

Water Supports Effective Kidney Function

The kidneys act as filtration units removing waste and toxins from the blood, including bacterial endotoxins. Kidneys require proper hydration to function fully.

  • Kidneys require large blood volume flow to filter effectively. Dehydration decreases throughput for poorer cleansing of pathogen byproducts.
  • Excreting toxins and microbe waste products is a key means of controlling infection severity. Hydration supports elimination via urine.
  • Water allows the kidneys to balance electrolyte levels disrupted by infection. Imbalances can worsen dehydration.
  • Reduced kidney perfusion from dehydration causes toxin buildup and electrolyte volatility that strains the body’s resources when already fighting infection.

Keep your defense systems running at full strength by providing kidneys the ample water needed to filter away the residual waste.

How Much Water is Needed When Sick?

Illness, infection and fever increase fluid losses through sweat, mucus, diarrhea and overall elevated metabolism. This raises daily water needs.

  • Experts recommend drinking at least 8 ounces of water every 1-2 hours when actively ill.
  • Increase daily water intake by at least 4-6 extra glasses when sick.
  • Drink enough so urine remains light yellow. Darker urine means dehydration.
  • Weigh yourself regularly when sick and drink 3-4 cups of water for every pound lost to replace fluid losses.
  • Drink even more water if experiencing fever, vomiting, diarrhea which deplete the body of water.
  • Sip small amounts continually rather than guzzling larger amounts spaced far apart.

Listen to your thirst and drink sufficient volumes so that you regularly feel the need to urinate. Don’t get behind on replenishing fluids lost fighting infection.

What Types of Water are Best When Sick?

Plain pure water provides what’s most essential when ill. But certain beverages offer additional hydration advantages:

Coconut Water – Packed with electrolytes like potassium that support hydration. Tasty alternative to plain water.

Hot Tea – Warm liquids soothe sore throats. Herbal teas provide soothing antioxidants. Green tea augments immune responses.

Soup Broths – Hydrate via salty broths that replenish electrolytes. Nourishing fluids.

Juices and Smoothies – Fruits like oranges provide hydration along with vitamin C. Blended with ice helps sore throats.

Sparkling Water – The carbonation makes drinking feel more refreshing. Lime or lemon add vitamin C.

Sports Drinks – Beverages like Gatorade replenish electrolytes lost through fever sweats and supply quick energy.

When ill, focusing on more appealing hydration sources makes it easier to force ample fluid intake essential to recovery. Just avoid beverages with caffeine or alcohol which are dehydrating.

Should You Drink Warm or Cold Water When Sick?

This depends on the type of illness:

  • For sore throats, bronchitis, or coughs, warm and hot beverages provide soothing relief.
  • With nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, cooler liquids may be better tolerated and absorbed.
  • For fever, lightly chilled water may provide comfort, but very cold water can cause shivering and coughing.
  • With congestion, either warm or cold liquids can help thin mucus for drainage.
  • For URTI chills and body aches, many prefer warming fluids. But others like cold better.
  • Overall, drink whatever temperature water you find most palatable as that will encourage more consumption.

Listen to your body’s preferences during illness. The optimal hydration temperature depends on the type and severity of symptoms.

Best Water Sources When Sick

Tap water works fine for hydration when sick if of good municipal quality. But taking additional measures to purify water may provide extra infection protection:

Water Filtration Systems – Counter-top or whole-house filters like Brita and Pur improve taste and remove microbes and lead.

Water Boiling – Heating water to a boil kills many pathogens potentially present in tap water. Let cool or use for tea.

UV Water Purifiers – Devices like SteriPEN use UV light to destroy viruses, bacteria, and protozoa in water.

Water Vending Machines – Chilled, purified water from units like Artic Refresh provides premium quality and taste on the go.

Bottled Water – Sealed bottled water avoids contaminants. Check “best by” dates and avoid temporary bottled water supplies set up after natural disasters.

When sick, take steps to ensure your hydration water is as pure as possible. Avoid suspect sources.

Benefits of Using Artic Refresh Purified Water

For premium drinking water to keep you hydrated when fighting illness, Artic Refresh water vending machines offer key advantages:

  • Convenient Locations – Found at gyms, offices, gas stations, and other high-traffic spots. Water exactly where you need it.
  • 24/7 Access – Get chilled, purified water anytime day or night from our self-service machines.
  • Multi-Stage Filtration – Our rigorous 5-stage reverse osmosis process removes sediments, chlorine, metals, bacteria and other contaminants for refreshing purity.
  • Great Taste – Our activated carbon filtration eliminates tastes and odors from tap water that might discourage drinking.
  • Chilled Water – Dispenses at a perfect 41°F temperature to quench thirst and make drinking appealing when sick.
  • Sanitary Operation – Machines are professionally sanitized monthly to keep your drinking water optimally pure.
  • Convenient Payment – Choose from cash, credit/debit, Apple Pay, Google Pay.
  • Eco-Friendly – Far lower waste and environmental impact than disposable bottled water.

Stock up on Artic Refresh purified water when illness strikes to ensure you stay optimally hydrated during recovery.

Making Hydration Easier When Sick

Here are tips to overcome common hydration barriers when sick:

  • Add fruit slices or mint to add appealing flavor to water.
  • Use a straw to make sipping easier.
  • Set phone reminders to drink water on schedule.
  • Always keep a water bottle within reach.
  • Infuse water with soothing ginger, honey and lemon.
  • Monitor your urine color as objective hydration feedback.
  • Record ounces consumed to stay accountable to daily goals.
  • Set an alarm to wake up and drink water middle of the night.
  • Invest in reusable bottles you enjoy drinking from.
  • Drink water while also taking medication to amplify absorption.

With creativity and commitment, stay determined to meet your body’s heightened fluid needs in illness. Your immune defenses depend on it.

The Critical Role Hydration Plays in Infection Outcomes

As the many examples above illustrate, maintaining optimal hydration isn’t just about quenching subjective thirst when sick. In truth, proper water intake actively supports critical infection-fighting functions throughout the body:

  • Bolstering immune cell mobility and nutrient absorption
  • Flushing pathogens from lymph, bladder, and GI tract
  • Providing moist mucosal barriers resistant to invasion
  • Regulating fever temperature effects
  • Meeting elevated metabolic demands of immune response
  • Allowing kidneys to filter waste and toxins
  • Producing beneficial thinned mucus clearance

Without adequate hydration levels, your body loses these benefits and infections readily gain ground. Sufficient water intake can often mean the difference between mild or quickly resolved illness versus severe, lingering symptoms.

Be sure to aggressively hydrate at the first sign of infection. Don’t allow poor fluid intake to inadvertently hamper your body’s efforts to defeat illness. Drink up!

Conclusion and Summary

In conclusion, science confirms that proper hydration actively supports critical infection fighting functions throughout the immune system and body. Drinking sufficient purified water aids disease resistance and recovery in major ways:

  • Enables efficient immune cell circulation to quickly find and react to pathogens
  • Provides the fluid medium to deliver key nutrients to infection sites
  • Optimizes lymph flow filtration to trap and transport pathogens away
  • Maintains moist mucosal tissue barriers resistant to pathogen penetration
  • Allows precise fever regulation needed for a targeted immune response
  • Prevents UTIs by continually flushing bacteria from the bladder
  • Keeps GI pathogen levels low through regular bowel movements
  • Thins mucus for more productive coughs to expel pathogens from airways
  • Meets the heightened metabolic demands of activated immune defenses
  • Provides kidneys the fluid volume needed to filter bacterial toxins

When fighting infection, support your body and immune system by consciously meeting increased fluid needs. Drink properly purified water consistently throughout each day when sick. Hydration and immunity go hand-in-hand.

FAQ About Hydration and Infection

How much extra water should you drink when sick?

Drink at least 4-6 extra glasses daily when ill. Consume 8oz every 1-2 hours. Drink more if you have fever, vomiting or diarrhea which deplete fluids.

What are the best beverages to hydrate when sick?

Water, broths, diluted juices, sports drinks, sparkling water, tea. Avoid caffeine and alcohol which dehydrate. Drink beverages you find appealing to encourage more consumption.