The Real Reason You Need To Drink More Fluids When You're Sick

You're laid up in bed, feeling awful, and everyone who knows of your condition is urging you to drink lots of fluids. But between your lack of energy and the terrible taste in your mouth, the idea of chugging down water right now sounds about as doable as running a marathon. So why imbibe? The simple answer is: you need the liquids! According to WebMD, a fever dehydrates you, and even if you don't have a higher-than-normal temperature, the production of mucus drains your fluid levels. Cold medicines designed to stave off a runny nose can dry you out as well.

It's not just a seasonal cold or flu that can deplete your hydration levels, either. "Certain illnesses can cause a rapid water loss, for example, vomiting and diarrhea," women's health expert Jennifer Wider, M.D., told SELF. "Doctors frequently tell their patients to drink plenty of fluids so they don't get dehydrated, which can make the symptoms much worse."

If you're dehydrated, you might take longer to recover

Whether you have the flu or a tummy bug, you've been through the wringer — and you'd rather not guzzle H20 right now, thank you very much! Staying in bed, even if it means feeling a little parched or drained, is preferable to a date with your Hydroflask... which, of course, will result in multiple trips to the bathroom, which you'd rather not deal with right now. Except, did you know that dehydration makes it harder for your body to muster its natural defenses so it can fight off the infection that's making you feel so crummy? According to Anar Shah, M.D., an emergency medicine doctor at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, drinking adequate liquids is key to recovery. "You want to give your body what it needs to heal and combat your illness," Shah explained (per Health).

In fact, the main reason why people with the flu or a virus end up in the emergency room is dehydration, which you might be suffering from if your urine is a dark color. "I think it's really critical to keep up with your hydration status and avoid becoming dehydrated," David B. Banach, head of infection prevention and a hospital epidemiologist at the University of Connecticut, explained to Vice. "It's something that any person who becomes sick with a virus, particularly the flu, needs to be aware of."