What Are the Dangers of Mixing Dayquil and Alcohol?

Dangers of Mixing Dayquil and Alcohol

Dayquil, a well-known, over-the-counter cold and flu medicine, can help relieve coughing, congestion, and other fever symptoms. However, mixing alcohol and Dayquil can be a dangerous combination, and it’s important to understand the key risks. 

Is Dayquil Safe?

Daqyuil is generally safe for treating cold and flu symptoms. However, all mediations carry some risks, and these risks may be more pronounced for people in recovery.

Dextromethorphan (DXM), a primary ingredient in Dayquil, can be abused recreationally. Some people take it in large quantities to produce a euphoric feeling. That said, DXM is associated with hazardous side effects, like delusions, hallucinations, and heightened paranoia. For this reason, many areas require that a consumer prove they are at least 18 or 21 to purchase certain cold medicines.

You should speak with your healthcare provider before taking Dayquil if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or if you have a history of:

  • Lung disease.
  • Liver disease.
  • Allergic reactions to cold medicines.
  • Glaucoma.
  • Difficulties passing urine.
  • Severe coughs that do not go away.
  • Asthma or bronchitis.

Risks of Mixing Alcohol and Dayquil

In general, you shouldn’t drink any alcohol when you feel sick. Alcohol can dehydrate the body, and dehydration can exacerbate symptoms of fatigue, dizziness, dry cough, and gastrointestinal distress. In severe cases, dehydration can affect memory and coordination, and it may even warrant hospitalization.

In addition, Dayquil contains acetaminophen and dextromethorphan. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIH) provides a master list outlining which medications have potentially adverse interactions with alcohol. Drinking alcohol while taking acetaminophen is associated with reactions like upset stomachs, bleeding, ulcers, and potential liver damage. They also cite common cold and flu medications as carrying a risk for drowsiness, dizziness, and an increased risk for overdose. 

Because alcohol already impairs your judgment, drinking while taking medication can heighten the likelihood of problematic consequences. For example, you might be more likely to temporarily lose essential motor skills, hurt yourself, or even suffer from an accidental, fatal overdose. 

How Long After Taking Dayquil Can I Drink Alcohol?

You can take Dayquil every four hours, but you should never exceed more than four doses within 24 hours. The medication usually takes about 30 minutes to start working.

While everybody metabolizes medication differently, Dayquil remains active in the system for about 4-6 hours. This number can fluctuate based on age, frequency of taking such medications, health status, and other medical variables. It is likely safe to have a drink after six hours of the last Dayquil dose.

Keep in mind that the body begins breaking down alcohol after about 60-90 minutes. However, the half-life of alcohol ranges from about 4-5 hours. Therefore, it isn’t advised to take Dayquil for several hours until you’ve had your last drink. It’s best to consult with your primary care physician if you want additional clarification.

What Are the Common Nyquil Side Effects?

Nyquil also contains acetaminophen and dextromethorphan. In addition, it has doxylamine, an antihistamine that further reduces cold and fever symptoms. As a result, Nyquil can help people get restful sleep even when they feel sick.

Some Nyquil contains alcohol. For instance, Nyquil Liquid contains 10% alcohol. Therefore, if you are in recovery from a substance use disorder, it is critical that you check any ingredients before taking medication. 

Common Nyquil side effects include:

  • Drowsiness and fatigue.
  • Headache.
  • Nausea.

Severe side effects may include allergic reactions, breathing problems, coordination issues, confusion, vision changes, and unusual bleeding. If any of these occur, call 911 or go to your local hospital.

Like with Dayquil, it is not advised to drink alcohol when taking Nyquil. It can interfere with the primary medicinal effects, and it may aggravate drowsiness. In severe cases, it may result in fainting or an accidental overdose.

Final Thoughts 

It’s no secret that dealing with the flu or a cold can be uncomfortable. However, when treating your symptoms, it is critical that you ensure you are being safe and proactive- both with your physical well-being and with your recovery. 

If you suspect you or a loved one might be struggling, help is available. You don’t have to struggle alone. Contact us at 866-578-7471 for 24/7 support. 

  1. Thank you for good information,let us know how danger mixing alchohol and dayquil,in the reality how bad effect to body

  2. This article is well detailed, informative and educative health wise. I had no idea about the effect of taking this two before now.

  3. This is an educative Article.
    it is not advised to drink alcohol when taking Nyquil. It can interfere with the primary medicinal effects, and it May aggravate drowsiness.
    Do make sure you comply with the Guides above.

  4. This is very educative. Thanks Detox for giving out this good information. If anyone is trying this it’s better they stop before it’s too late

  5. Alcohol can dehydrate the body, and dehydration can exacerbate symptoms of fatigue, dizziness, dry cough, and gastrointestinal distress.

  6. Orientations like this are always needed to combat occurrences like this. I wonder why anyone would even wanna do a mixture of a cough syrup and alcohol. They’ll both work negatively. Thanks for this beautiful write up. Hopefully faulters take heed.

  7. I don’t understand why people mix alcohol and DayQuil..this has adverse effect..thanks for this post..I hope a lot of people will understand the effect of mixing both..and have an alcohol after more than six hours of having a dayquil dose

  8. Thanks to detox for always finding out time to enlighten us on what drugs and hard substance can do to our body. Kudos team

  9. People and especially the young generation, they tend to look for anything that will make them high. I do not find anything by being high.

  10. I have never seen VICKS this size let alone know that it is used in this manner. Very slick used wrongly sure but slick none the less. I get the purpose but to me it sounds redundant. I mean when you are drunk you do not need vicks to be laid out? Just saying.

  11. The truth is that it is advisable to take alcohol when sick so mixing it with anything should be avoided. I totally agree with you

  12. cold suppressants have been wildy used as an alternative to drugs. Just like in south africa, they are also using drugs used for coughs.

  13. Going by this article the mixture is not only dangerous for consumption but also bad for pregnant women to use or take dayquil.y advice for everyone is to heed correction.

  14. This is really impactful. As much as Dayquil is effective in curing cough, it is equally dangerous when misused. And I dont see why anyone would want to take alcohol along side dayquil. Thanks for this I formation.

  15. Honestly this article is very helpful it really broadened my knowledge about dayquil. Thanks to detox to rehab for sharing

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