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Don’t touch that Tylenol when you’ve got the flu

I don’t know about you, but at the first sign of a cold or flu — which is thankfully rare for me — I reach for a bottle.

And I don’t mean a pill bottle.

Booze might not cure a cold or flu but it can certainly make it more tolerable and numb the pain. And when that doesn’t cut it, an extra shot will put me right out.

Wake me up when it’s over!

Of course, millions of Americans don’t reach for the bourbon. If you’re one of them, instead you reach for the Tylenol — because it’s supposed to fight two of the worst symptoms of the flu: body-wrecking muscle pain and a fever that sets your head on fire.

But the flu makes you so loopy…you don’t realize the drug isn’t even working!

Even if you do figure out that you’re just as miserable as you were before, you might think that the flu could’ve been a lot worse without the Tylenol.


New research put Tylenol up against a placebo in folks battling flu-like symptoms (most of whom, it later turned out, did have the flu). Even at high doses, the Tylenol couldn’t beat that placebo — with no differences in symptoms, fever, duration of the illness, and viral load.

In other words, put down the Tylenol. It’s not going to help.

But that doesn’t mean you have to grit your teeth and bear it, either — because there are some ways to help fight the flu as well as the common cold.

First, boost your immune system with fish oil, vitamin D, and vitamin C. They can help prevent and limit the damage of cold and flu infections.

And second, if you manage to get sick anyway, make yourself what I call the Harrison Hooch: Mix some honey and hot water with a shot of bourbon and stir it with a cinnamon stick.

Or, for a sugar-free version that’s room temperature, simplify the recipe and just drink the bourbon. Cinnamon swizzle stick optional.

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