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March 1958

Alcoholic Beverage, Nasal Temperature, and the Common Cold

AMA Arch Otolaryngol. 1958;67(3):344-346. doi:10.1001/archotol.1958.00730010352011

Alcoholic beverages have been utilized for generations to abort the common cold, especially after chilling by exposure to inclement weather. Fear of increasing their popularity has prevented many physicians from prescribing alcoholic beverages during the prodromal stages of the common cold. Without contending that such a practice is effective or that it can stay the self-limited course of the common cold, Goodman and Gilman 1 point out that alcohol exerts several actions which may prove beneficial, even though they are not essential. Alcohol causes peripheral vasodilatation and reestablishes circulation in chilled cutaneous and mucosal surfaces; provides comfort; induces drowsiness, and promotes a desire to rest. Once acted upon, the decision to rest in bed can serve a most useful purpose. Rest in bed diminishes the severity of the common cold, limits its spread to others, and reduces the frequency of complications.2

It has been demonstrated by Mudd and his

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