Drinking too much water when ill can be harmful, finds study

A new case study reports the risks of drinking too much water and highlights the need for more research to support this traditional advice.


For generations, the predominant medical advice in case of flu or respiratory infections has been to drink plenty of fluids.

Theoretically, this is considered good advice; during a cold, the body secretes more liquids through the nose or may be running a fever, which could lead to more fluid loss.

In the case of infections in general, drinking more water is thought to help with intravascular volume loss, increased vascular permeability, as well as replace the fluids lost in fever and vomiting.

The medical advice to drink plenty of water also rests on the assumption that water consumption is harmless.

A new case report reminds doctors and patients that evidence for the benefits of drinking plenty of water is scarce, and, in fact, drinking too much water can be dangerous.


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