Do hot drinks protect us from viruses?

Do hot drinks protect us from viruses? Do hot drinks protect us from viruses?

Sadly, it’s not quite that easy. However, experts recommend that we drink plenty, for if we take care of our respiratory tract, it’s more difficult for viruses to penetrate the body.

Shield to protect

Not every virus that enters the respiratory tract immediately penetrates the body. Besides specific antibodies, the respiratory tract also has a shield to protect itself from pathogens: a lining of hair-like structures covered in mucus. These hairs move in waves to transport pathogens along the respiratory tract out of the lungs, preventing the pathogens from settling in the mucus layer in the first place.

In her recently published article, Viola Vogel, Professor of Biology at ETH Zurich, likens the process to a conveyor belt.

However, when the mucus becomes too viscous or the mucus layer gets too thick, this cell-driven conveyor belt begins to stall.
Viola Vogel, Professor of Biology at ETH Zurich


While offering no absolute guarantee of staying healthy, taking care of your respiratory tract may help to keep viruses out of the lungs. Professor Viola Vogel gives the following tips:

  • Breathe through your nose.
  • Gargle or drink hot tea (ginger tea, for example).
  • Inhale steam to keep the mucus layer lining the respiratory tract fluid.
  • Avoid dust and smoke.

Our favourite hot drinks (in German)

Read the full article on taking care of your respiratory tract here.

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