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Frequent alcohol drinking is associated with lower prevalence of self-reported common cold: a retrospective study

Alcohol intake has been associated with reduced incidence of common cold symptoms in 2 European studies. However, no study has addressed the association between the frequency of alcohol intake and the incidence of common cold. A Japanese study aimed to investigate the association between the amount and frequency of alcohol drinking and the retrospective prevalence of common cold in Japanese men.

The study included men who participated in an annual health examination conducted in Sendai, Japan. The frequency of common cold episodes in the previous year was self-reported. The weekly frequency and amount of alcohol consumed, as well as the type of alcoholic drink, were reported by a brief-type self-administered diet history questionnaire. Logistic regression models were used to analyse the association between the amount and frequency of alcohol intake and the retrospective prevalence of common cold.

Among 899 men, 83.4% of the subjects reported drinking alcohol, and 55.4% of the subjects reported having experienced at least one episode of common cold in the previous year. Compared with non-drinkers, the adjusted odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for having had 1 or more episodes of common cold during the past year across categories of alcohol intake frequency of 3 or less, 4-6, and 7 days/week were 0.827 (0.541-1.266), 0.703 (0.439 -1.124), and 0.621 (0.400-0.965), respectively (P for trend = 0.025); the adjusted ORs with 95% CIs for having had of 2 or more episodes of common cold across the same categories were 0.642 (0.395-1.045), 0.557 (0.319-0.973), and 0.461 (0.270-0.787), respectively (P for trend = 0.006). Compared with subjects who consumed 11.5-35.8 g of alcohol per day, the non-drinkers were significantly more likely to experience 2 or more episodes of common cold (OR, 1.843; 95% CI, 1.115-3.047).

The authors conclude that the frequency, not the amount, of alcohol intake was significantly related to lower prevalence of self-reported common cold episodes in Japanese men. 

Source: Frequent alcohol drinking is associated with lower prevalence of self-reported common cold: a retrospective study. Ouchi E; Niu K; Kobayashi Y; Guan L; Momma H; Guo H; Chujo M; Otomo A; Cui Y; Nagatomi R. BMC Public Health. Published early online 16 November 2012.

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