A new study suggests drinking extra fluids may do more harm than good for patients with respiratory infections.
Researchers examined results from previous studies to determine if recommending patients with respiratory infections drink more fluids is safe. Previous data has shown during a respiratory infection, such as a cold or bronchitis, the body releases large amounts of a specific hormone that conserves water. Thus, researchers say giving extra fluids may lead to salt loss and fluid overload.
Researchers did not find any studies that directly compared increased fluid intake and restricted fluid intake in patients with respiratory infections. However, one study shows children with severe pneumonia have a 45-percent chance of developing hyponatremia. Hyponatremia is a low concentration of sodium in the blood. The condition occurs when sweat and salt is replaced by ingested water. Researchers say other studies show patients with respiratory infections who develop hyponatremia can be effectively treated by restricting their fluid intake.
However researchers say more studies need to be conducted to determine if drinking extra fluids is safe for patients. Researchers also caution that until enough evidence is got , one should be careful about universally recommending increased fluids to patients, especially those with infections of the lower respiratory tract.