Do hot drinks cool you down?

Do hot drinks cool you down?

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It is quite the old wives tale that drinking a hot drink cools you down. If you don't really think about it it does seem somewhat logical: increasing temperature will cause your body to try and cool down faster. This is of course flawed by the fact that you have increased your temperature before cooling it back down again.

I have had a bit of a look, but have been unable to find any evidence that addresses the fact that drinking a hit drink may make you feel cooler after sweating a little bit, rather than actually changing anything about your net temperature. Basically, is the 'cool down' just the placebo effect (you feel cooler because you think you feel cooler), or is there any evidence for a 'real' effect of hot drinks cooling you down? Or is there evidence that hot drinks do nothing at all except heat you up a bit before you come right back to the same temperature?

A Study by Lee & Shirreffs addresses this question. Unfortunately I only have the abstract, but it's enough to summarise from:


  • Three groups exercised by cycling before being given water at either 10°C, 37°C or 50°C.
  • They then continued to exercise until exhausted.
  • Mean skin temperature, core body temperature and heart rate were measured throughout.


  • Mean skin temperature was highest in the hot drink category - half a degree warmer than in the cold group.
  • There was a heat difference between the two outlying groups of 33kJ.

Irritatingly the pre-drink temperatures are not included in the abstract so it's hard to compare the effect that the drinks have had. Certainly the hot drink has warmed skin temperature above the thermoneutral group but I suppose that could be due to increased vasodilation leading to better core heat dissipation (as you suggest).

In absolute terms, you are warmer than you would have been after having a neutral or cold drink, however it could be that you feel cooler as your hotter skin loses heat energy at an increased rate due to the greater gradient.


  • Lee JKW, Shirreffs SM. 2007. The influence of drink temperature on thermoregulatory responses during prolonged exercise in a moderate environment. Journal of Sports Sciences 25: 975-985.

Beat Summer Heat by Snacking on These Ayurvedic Cooling Foods

Here, integrative physician Tania Dempsey, MD, and Divya Alter, the co-founder of Bhagavat Life, an Ayurvedic culinary school, and Divya’s Kitchen, an Ayurvedic restaurant in Manhattan, both give insight into the three food rules to keep in mind when eating this summer while staying cool in the process.

Why Does Blowing On Your Hot Drink Cool It Down? The Surprising Scientific Answer

Image credit: Pixabay user Unsplash, public domain, via . [+]

When it's cold outside, it's only natural to want something to warm you up. Whether that's coffee, hot chocolate, tea, soup or another tasty beverage, it often comes to you too hot to actually put in your mouth, with the potential to scald you if you accidentally drink it right away. We all have our favorite ways to cool it down, though they all come with their disadvantages:

  • You can simply wait for the cooler room to exchange energy with the hot liquid, but that often takes more time than most of us are willing to wait.
  • You can drop an ice cube in there and speed up the cool-down process, but that waters down your beverage, something no one really wants.
  • Or, you can blow on it, imparting your cool breath to the hot liquid, cooling it more quickly than leaving it alone without watering it down.

Almost all of us go with that last option by default, but the coolness of your breath is only part of the scientific story.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons user A.Greg, under c.c.a.-s.a.-3.0.

What is it that actually determines the temperature of your liquid? It's how quickly the individual molecules inside are moving: their kinetic energy is a measure of their thermal energy. This is why, if you drop food coloring into both hot and cold water, they disperse in the hot water much faster than the cold: the molecules in the hot water move around much more quickly, and so, therefore, do the molecules of the food coloring, which quickly reach the same temperature as the water after being dropped in.

But if you looked closely at each individual molecule, you'd notice something a little more subtle at their speeds and their energies. Sure, after even a brief amount of time, they move at the same average speed and have the same average energy: this is the process of thermalization, where when molecules collide with one another, they exchange energy. Depending on the exact speeds, angles and masses of the colliding molecules, each individual molecule might be moving faster or slower than the average speed. In general, you get a certain type of distribution-of-speeds for the molecules inside your liquid: a Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons user Pdbailey, who created this image and placed it in the public . [+] domain. The speed distribution is qualitatively the same for liquids as it is for gases.

Sure, most of the molecules inside will have a speed that's given by the average temperature, but there's going to be a range: many will be hotter and many will be colder. What you don't see on the diagram above is that for any temperature, some of the molecules (more for hotter temperatures, fewer for lower temperatures) will be above the temperature threshold to enter the gaseous phase. If you've ever observed steam rising off your hot beverage, that's actually arising from the hottest, most energetic molecules inside entering the gaseous phase, condensing back into rising liquid droplets as the cool air above interacts with them. (Which is why, if you put your nose above a steaming cup of coffee, it comes out not just hot, but also wet!)

Image credit: Pete Lewis/Department for International Development, United Kingdom.

When you blow into the hot liquid, yes, the air you're causing to come into contact with the liquid is cooler than the liquid itself, and so that heat exchange will help your beverage cool faster. But a big effect also comes from the fact that when you blow on your beverage, you're increasing the number (and changing the sample) of molecules in contact with the air, and so you increase the rate at which the hottest molecules evaporate, entering the gaseous phase and leaving your liquid. The big reason this is important is when you allow the hottest molecules to escape, they take that heat with them, leaving you with an overall cooler system than you started with!

The next time someone berates you for blowing too strongly on your hot beverage, you'll have science to back you up. A more vigorous blow helps the hottest molecules escape faster, leading you to enjoy your drink at the right temperature faster than anyone else!

The best ways to reduce body heat

The human body reacts to external and internal changes. Body temperature rises when the external temperature increases but also when the internal temperature increases.

Experts consider the normal body temperature to be around 98.6ºF (37ºC), but it can vary by up to 0.9ºF (0.5ºC) depending on the time of day. Average body temperature also differs slightly from person to person .

After intense physical activity or on a hot day, it is common to have a higher-than-normal body temperature. However, a body temperature of above 100.4ºF (38ºC) could indicate fever.

Hot outside temperatures, intense physical activity, illnesses that cause fever, and certain medications can all cause a high body temperature.

In this article, we discuss eight tips for reducing body heat and explain the most common causes of high body temperature.

Share on Pinterest Drinking cool liquids can help reduce body heat.

It is possible to reduce body heat in two different ways: externally or internally.

Jumping into a cool pool is an example of external cooling, while drinking cold water helps reduce body temperature internally.

The human body is always regulating its temperature, and it can lower it in four different ways :

  • vaporization, which it achieves by sweating
  • radiation, which means releasing heat into the surrounding air
  • convection, which occurs when cooler air surrounds the body
  • conduction, which is the transferral of body heat into adjacent cold water or ice

A brain region called the hypothalamus is responsible for regulating body temperature. It checks the body’s current temperature against its normal temperature and then regulates it.

When the body is too hot, regulation occurs through sweating to cool it down. When it is too cold, the hypothalamus triggers shivering to warm it up.

Although it may seem counterintuitive, eating spicy foods and engaging in activities that cause the body to sweat could potentially make it feel cooler in comparison with the outside temperature. This is because sweating reduces body temperature.

Below are eight tips for reducing body heat:

1. Drink cool liquids

Drinking cool liquids, such as water or iced tea, can help reduce body temperature by cooling the body internally. The regular intake of fluids can also prevent dehydration, which can increase body heat.

2. Go somewhere with cooler air

People can reduce their body temperature by moving to an area with a cooler external temperature. The body will lose heat by convection.

3. Get in cool water

Swimming in cool water, taking a lukewarm bath, or applying cold water to the body can reduce body temperature. In these cases, body temperature will decrease as a result of conduction.

4. Apply cold to key points on the body

Applying cold water or ice to strategic points on the body where the veins are close to the surface — such as the wrists, neck, chest, and temples — can quickly lower the temperature of the blood running through these veins. This allows the body to feel cooler.

5. Move less

The body releases heat when it moves. In hot temperatures, a person is likely to feel less hot if they avoid heavy exercise and limit their movement.

6. Wear lighter, more breathable clothing

Heat passes more easily through some fabrics than others. Natural fabrics, such as cotton and linen, allow heat to escape from the body more easily than synthetic fabrics, such as acrylic and nylon.

7. Take heat regulating supplements

Depending on the cause of high body temperature, taking a supplement may help regulate body heat.

A 2018 study that compared plant extracts found that both evening primrose oil and black cohosh were effective in reducing the frequency and severity of hot flashes in people going through perimenopause or menopause.

Black cohosh also reduced the frequency of hot flashes.

8. Talk to a doctor about thyroid health

At times, high body heat may be due to an overactive thyroid. When this is the case, a person might also notice other symptoms, such as a rapid heart rate, sweating, jaundice, and confusion.

Anyone who thinks that they might have a thyroid issue should speak to a doctor.

The cause of high body temperature can be external or internal. Below, we list some of the main reasons why a person may feel hotter than usual:

Hot environment

Spending time outside in very hot weather can increase a person’s body temperature, as can being in a hot indoor environment for extended periods. Wearing too many layers in either situation can also lead to an increase in body temperature.

Overexposure to sun or heat

Spending too much time in the sun can increase body heat or even lead to heatstroke, which some people call sunstroke.

Children and older adults are particularly at risk of heatstroke. Dehydration from spending too much time in the sun can further increase body heat. Therefore, it is important to drink lots of fluids and to rest after prolonged sun or heat exposure.

Doctors categorize overexposure to heat into three levels : heat cramp, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke.

Heat cramp, although hard on the body, does not require medical attention. It tends to subside with plenty of rest and rehydration.

The symptoms of heat cramp include:

Heat exhaustion requires medical attention if the symptoms last for longer than an hour or get worse over time.

In addition to the symptoms of heat cramp, a person may experience:

Heatstroke is very serious and requires medical attention at a hospital.

The symptoms of heatstroke include those of heat cramp, as well as:

Exercise or moving more than usual

When a person moves, they create energy. Heat is the body’s way of releasing energy. To reduce body heat, a person can try temporarily moving less or only when necessary.

Perimenopause or menopause

During perimenopause and menopause, people often experience hot flashes and night sweats, both of which temporarily elevate body temperature.

Medications, hormones, and recreational drugs

Medications and other drugs can raise a person’s body temperature by affecting either heat loss or heat production.

Reducing heat loss

Some medications, including diuretics and anticholinergics, can impair the body’s ability to lose heat by sweating.

Beta-blockers, neuroleptic drugs, inhaled anesthetics, and succinylcholine also decrease the body’s ability to get rid of excess heat.

Increasing heat production

Some medications, hormones, and recreational drugs cause the body to produce excess heat because they increase the metabolic rate. These include:

Being unwell

Body temperature also increases in response to germs such as viruses and bacteria. An increased body temperature helps the body fight off invading illnesses, which is why a fever is often a sign of getting sick.

Thyroid storm

A thyroid storm is an excess of thyroid hormone in the body. It is a life threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention. A thyroid storm may occur after illness, surgery, infection, or pregnancy.

As well as a very high body temperature, symptoms of a thyroid storm include :

  • rapid heartbeat
  • sweating
  • nausea or vomiting
  • agitation
  • jaundice
  • abdominal pain

Malignant hyperthermia

Malignant hyperthermia is a genetic condition that causes a person to have a severe reaction to certain medications and drugs.

The symptoms include a rapid or irregular heartbeat, a very high body temperature, and severe muscle spasms. People with this condition require immediate medical attention.

8 Tips to Cool Your Dog on a Hot Summer Day

“Boy it’s hot!” you tell yourself, as you sit in the shade and sip a cold glass of iced tea while your dog looks pleadingly at you. Clearly your dog is hot, heck you are and you don’t even have fur! More than likely you realize your dog’s discomfort too. What can you do that will make your dog comfortable and protect him from potentially deadly heatstroke?

1. Find some shade
How can you cool his personal space? I recommend an outdoor thermometer in the shade to help you find the most comfortable area for your dog. While a large tree may not be available, even a small patio area has room for a canvas canopy. Collapsible shade tents are readily available at home and garden stores and can be folded and unfolded as needed.

2. Take a dip, but be careful
If you are lucky enough to have a pool or be near a lake, you’ll probably be tempted to jump in with your dog. That seems like a logical option if your dog is uncomfortably hot, but be cautious. If your dog is really hot or bordering on heat stroke, it just might make things worse. Lowering your dog’s skin and surface temperature too abruptly might actually result in further heating of his internal organs, worsening the overheating of the body’s core.

Instead, recognizing that you dog’s feet help with the regulation of body temperature, have him enter the water slowly. Let him stand with just his feet in cold water for a while ideally, monitoring his temperature with a thermometer. Rectal temperatures lowering to 103F are a good place to stop cooling your pet aggressively.

If you don’t have access to a pool or lake, a small child’s wading pool can be placed even on a small patio to allow your dog to simply stand in the water. Remember the foot pads of dogs are one of the ways they can dissipate heat (it’s also one of the few places they sweat).

3. Create a breeze
A breeze can make summer heat much more tolerable and simply placing a window or shop fan on the patio will create a great breeze for your dog. You might want one for yourself as well! The breeze or fan is particularly helpful in cooling by evaporation. Unfortunately, since dogs don’t perspire much you may have to simulate this evaporation.

4. Try some mist
Obviously using a garden hose to wet down your dog will help, but it wastes a lot of water, and some dogs are afraid of the hose or could even be injured by the pressure. Instead, consider using a mist creating attachment that attaches to the water supply and sprays a very fine (and cooling) mist of water in an area as small as a few square feet and as large as a patio. These misters are available at home improvement centers and need not be expensive. Many places also sell a small quart sized sprayer, some with a small fan attached. They are great for cooling your pet and yourself.

5. Use a wet blanket
Using a hand towel or a bath towel that has been dampened and kept in the freezer is a great aid for cooling. A bag of frozen peas can be used as an ice bag to cool your dog’s head, or placed on the neck or groin where some big blood vessels live .

6. Ice that drink
On a hot day, you take a cool drink. Don't you think your dog would like one too? Simply keep their water fresh and cool it by replenishing it often. You can add ice to the water bowl to help lower the temperature.

7. Make popsicles and icicles
In my own experience dogs are willing to enjoy a Popsicle or frozen juice bar. If your dog doesn’t like fruit flavors consider making frozen bars with plain water and a touch of beef bouillon. Not my favorite but your dog may love them.

[Editor’s Note: Treats should never contain sweeteners, like xylitol, which can be toxic. Ask your veterinarian about safe flavors.]

8. Always carry water
Make sure that whenever you leave home, you carry plenty of water for your dog. A quart of bottled water can easily be frozen and kept cool in an insulated bag.

If it is too hot for you it is too hot for your pet. Some days are best spent indoors by an air conditioner. On those days just rent a movie and chill. Be familiar with the signs of overheating and impending heat stroke. If your dog demonstrates any signs of overheating cool him down gradually and take him to your veterinarian. Remember to never leave a dog in a parked car. Click here to learn just how hot it can get.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

Why you should drink hot tea and eat chillies in summer to cool down

The summer heat in Australia can be intense and exhausting. So it’s a given that most of us will reach for a cold drink to provide relief from the burning heat.

But according to research and the international food practices of people living in many hot countries, drinking hot tea in summer has a greater cooling effect on our bodies than an ice-cold brew.

“In Morocco, where temperatures get as high as 49.6 degrees Celsius in some parts in summer, people tend to drink piping hot glasses of mint tea,” says Anika Rouf, an Accredited Practising Dietitian.

Hot tea is also commonly drunk in warm conditions throughout India, Malaysia, Turkey, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.

“This practice may seem really strange to some of us living in Australia because if it’s already hot, why would anyone want to drink a hot beverage? But in some countries, there’s a belief that in the heat, you fight fire with fire.

“So in summer, they drink hot tea to cool down. As a result, sweat is produced and your body loses heat.”

Research conducted by the Scandinavian Physiological Society, published in the journal Acta Physiologica in 2012, tested whether or not drinking hot fluids in summer helps you to cool down.

It examined the body heat storage of nine men after physical activity and measured by their physical reaction to drinking fluids of varying temperatures.

The study’s results showed that the participants lost more bodily heat – and cooled down overall – when they drank hot fluids compared to when they drank cold fluids.

The authors reason that hot drinks stimulate the body's thermo-sensors, which makes us sweat, lose body heat and cool down.

“…Body heat storage is lower with warm water ingestion, likely because of disproportionate modulations in sweat output arising from warm-sensitive thermosensors in the oesophagus/stomach,” the study reads.

Rouf, a spokesperson for the Dietitians Association of Australia, says that this is the same reason why people living throughout Asia often have soup in summer.

“In Australia, we don’t typically think of eating soup in summer,” explains Rouf. “It’s a dish we eat in winter. But in some parts of China and Vietnam, they tend to have soups and hot pots in the summer heat.

“In the southern region of China, Chongqing, they have a Chongqing hot pot, which is a super spicy soup. It also has beef fat in it. It’s believed that hot dishes like this, with hot liquid and chilli, will relieve the internal heat [or ‘qing huo’ in Chinese].”

How hot food can cool you down in summer

Drinking warm chai tea in India, slurping hot phở in Vietnam or getting that kick of spicy salsa in Mexico will surely make you sweat. While you might rather opt for a chilled drink come summer, eating hot or spicy foods can actually cool you down on a warm day – if the conditions are right.

Keeping the balance

Our bodies are well-equipped to balance the heat. It's produced by metabolic processes (eating) with mechanisms which keep us cool if we are in a hot environment, or it will retain that heat if we feel relatively cold.

Sweating, or evaporative cooling, is the main physiological way that we release excess heat from our bodies. Blood flow to the skin, feet and hands first increases to transfer heat to our periphery then heat is carried away from our skin when sweat turns into water vapour. Humans have millions of sweat glands in our skin: in a patch the size of a 5 cent piece, you can have anywhere between 440 and 1000 sweat glands.

Humans have millions of sweat glands in our skin : in a patch the size of a 5 cent piece, you can have anywhere between 440 and 1000 sweat glands.

The human body is so adept at controlling its temperature with this mechanism, not to mention a toolbox of others, that we can keep our core temperature stable within one degree or less (36.5-37°C) when in a comfortable resting state. With exercise and environmental fluctuations, we regulate our body temperature. “2-3°C either side of this thermoneutral state”, says Nigel Taylor, Associate Professor of Thermal Physiology at the University of Wollongong – thermoregulation is strict business.

Make you sweat

Spikes in temperature, whether internally or in the external environment, make us sweat rapidly. Receptors, or nerve endings, sensitive to temperature changes are called thermoreceptors. They notify the hypothalamus - the thermostat in our brains - if the mercury is rising (or falling) and our body swiftly responds.

When you consume hot drinks, the sweat response is triggered from thermoreceptors in and around the stomach that notice the additional heat an increase of your deep-body temperature between 0.2-0.5°C is all that is required.

When you consume hot drinks, the sweat response is triggered from thermoreceptors in and around the stomach that notice the additional heat an increase of your deep-body temperature between 0.2-0.5°C is all that is required.

We may also sweat because we are emotionally or mentally stressed, as a result of another underlying condition such as diabetes or if we have consumed spicy foods these are non-thermal stimuli.

In spicy foods it is capsaicin, the active ingredient in chilli, that stimulates thermoreceptors. However, unlike hot drinks in the stomach, this time it's in the mouth, and we perspire. This response is called gustatory sweating since it relates to taste. Sweating is concentrated around the forehead and neck and it can be triggered by other compounds like caffeine, too.

Critically, whether sweating is an effective cooling mechanism or just an unpleasant inconvenience depends on airflow and how much water is already in the air. The sweat beading on our skin will evaporate faster if it is a “dry” day with low ambient humidity and if evaporation is not obstructed by clothing. If the air is humid, the sweat has nowhere to go.

Directly Above Shot Of Asam Laksa And Teh Tarik Served On Wooden Table
Source: EyeEm

Has it been tested?

Dr Ollie Jay, who heads up of the Thermal Ergonomics Laboratory at the University of Sydney, has for many years been studying with how humans regulate their body temperature under different conditions. His research has shown that if you consume a hot drink the overall amount of heat stored in the body is less than if you have a cold one. The cooling effect of sweating outweighs the added heat.

His [Dr Ollie Jay] research has shown that if you consume a hot drink the overall amount of heat stored in the body is less than if you have a cold one. The cooling effect of sweating outweighs the added heat.

“As long as the sweat can evaporate, you can theoretically be better off but the effect is not that large,” Jay says. “The main thing is that our bodies shut sweating down when drinking a cold drink – so you are actually no better off with a 1.5°C drink than you are with a 37°C drink.”

However, if you can’t swallow a steaming hot drink this summer, Jay suggests that avoiding ice-cold drinks on a hot day or when exercising intensely and instead, drinking fluid at a palatable temperature will likely cool you down.

Game Mechanics

Overheating mechanics are based on the temperature implementations in the game. A player character has a body temperature, which ranges from -20° to 90°. Any time body temperature rises above 70°, the character will take 1.25 damage per second.

Rate of Temperature Change

Ambient temperature is a key factor influencing a character's body temperature. Body temperature will attempt to match the ambient temperature at one of two rates: the ambient delta which is determined by all heat and cold sources, or the insulated rate which depends on insulation values of clothing worn by the character. The rate is in degrees per second, and the game will choose whichever value is larger.

Ambient Delta

The ambient delta is a rate that takes into account the total effect of all heat sources affecting the player, including the weather, campfires and Thermal Stones. It is also a function of the player's current temperature.

The rate determined by the ambient delta is given by:

where the warming cap is a value equal to 1 or 5, and the net temperature effect (net_temp_eff) is the effect of a heat/cold source on the player's body temperature. The ambient delta is either the warming cap or the sum of the net temperature effects (whichever value is smaller).

The warming cap is the maximum rate of temperature increase, and depends on the player's body temperature. The rate will be +5° per second while the player's body temperature is below the freezing point of , and +1° per second once the player's body temperature is warmer than the freezing point.

The net temperature effect of a heat/cold source depends on the difference between the heat source temperature (values listed in the Heat Sources table below) and the player's body temperature:

The following items, when equipped, provide varying levels of resistance to overheating. Some of these items, like the Eyebrella or Floral Shirt, can prevent overheating for the entire day on their own, if the player is fully cooled each night.

Insulated Rate

When the ambient delta is smaller than the insulated rate, the player's body temperature will increase by:

Items that delay overheating
Item Insulation Slot
Wes -30 Face
Woodie -45 Face
Willow 30 Face
Blooming Wormwood 60 Face
Gardeneer Hat 60 Head
Premier Gardeneer Hat 60 Head
Straw Hat 60 Head
Fashion Melon 120 Head
Pretty Parasol 120 Hand
Summer Frest 120 Chest
Umbrella 120 Hand
Eyebrella 240 Head
Floral Shirt 240 Chest
Ice Cube 240 Head
Whirly Fan 60 Hand
Werebeaver Immune
Immune Face
Blue Funcap 60 Head
Green Funcap 60 Head
Red Funcap 60 Head
Pinetree Pioneer Hat 60 Head
Tropical Parasol 120 Hand
Dumbrella 240 Head
Magnificent Beard (affected by length, Wilson only) 0 / -15 / -45 / -135 Face
Silky Smooth Beard (affected by length, Webber only) 0 / -11.25 / -33.75 / -67.5 Face
Chirpy Scarf 120 Chest
Chirpy Cloak 240 Chest
Chirpy Capelet 240 Chest

Note: For the purpose of calculating a Thermal Stone's own temperature gain, a fixed insulation of 120 is used. This value is not added to the player's total insulation, nor does the player's insulation affect the Thermal Stone in any way. A Thermal Stone warms at the same rate on the ground as it does in the inventory.

Evaporative Cooling

When you blow on a hot drink or a food containing a lot of moisture, most of the cooling effect is due to evaporative cooling. Evaporative cooling is so powerful, it can even lower the surface temperature below room temperature. Here's how it works.

Water molecules in hot foods and drinks have enough energy to escape into the air, changing from liquid water to gaseous water (water vapor). The phase change absorbs energy, so when it occurs, it lowers the energy of the remaining food, cooling it. (If you aren't convinced, you can feel the effect if you blow on rubbing alcohol on your skin.) Eventually, a cloud of vapor surrounds the food, which limits the ability of other water molecules near the surface to vaporize. The limiting effect is mainly due to vapor pressure, which is the pressure the water vapor exerts back on the food, keeping water molecules from changing phase. When you blow on the food, you push away the vapor cloud, lowering the vapor pressure and allowing more water to evaporate.

Guzzling down hot liquid is unlikely to raise the temperature enough in your respiratory tract to kill any of the virus inside the cells there

Once inside the body, the virus also quickly gets inside the cells of its human host where it then slowly replicates itself, meaning it is also able to comfortably hide from any attempts to wash it away. Some initial studies have suggested it can take up to 30 hours from the first cells being infected, to the point where the virus bursts out to infect more cells.

Similarly, once inside our cells, the virus is protected from any extremes of temperature. The human body tends to sit at a comfortable 37C (98.6F), which is perfect for the virus to replicate and spread. Guzzling down hot liquid is unlikely to raise the temperature enough in your respiratory tract to kill any of the virus inside the cells there. It takes temperatures of 56C (132.8F) or higher to effectively kill the closely related coronavirus that causes Sars, although some tests have shown temperatures higher than 60-65C (140-149F) are needed. While no studies have yet been published on the virus that causes Covid-19 and its resistance to high temperatures, it is likely that it will be similar to other coronaviruses.

The temperatures needed to kill Covid-19 are high enough to scald us and cause serious injury (Credit: Getty Images)

It’s easy to see how climbing into a bath that hot, as some fake advice has suggested, would be hard to stand for long, and likely do more harm than good. Even if you could stay in water hot enough, it isn’t going to kill any of the virus already inside your body. This is because, regardless of how hot you are on the outside, your body works hard to keep its temperature inside at around 37C (98.6F). You are more likely to burn yourself and do serious harm than kill the virus.

Raising your core body temperature even to 40C (104F) can lead to severe heat stroke. Body temperatures higher than this can lead to death unless treated quickly.

Some misleading claims also state that compounds in tea can have a protective effect against the Covid-19 virus, but there is no scientific evidence to support this, as the BBC has reported elsewhere.

So that hot drink may be soothing. But as ever, the best way to protect yourself from the Covid-19 virus is to abide by social distancing measures, wash your hands with soap and water after touching potentially infected surfaces and follow the most up-to-date official medical advice.

As an award-winning science site, BBC Future is committed to bringing you evidence-based analysis and myth-busting stories around the new coronavirus. You can read more of our Covid-19 coverage here.


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