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27 July


Can alcohol help during the pandemic?

Excessive drinking alcohol can weaken your immune system

Photo: Reuters

/NOVOSTIVL/ Everyday routines have been uprooted by the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has also driven up levels of anxiety. And the World Health Organization knows what that means: more people will, likely, be having a few more drinks, either to substitute their social plans or to calm their nerves. This article appeared in the Bussiness Insider.

Dr. Aiysha Malik, Technical Officer, Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at WHO Regional Office for Europe, said alcohol is an "unhelpful coping strategy" for dealing with anxiety and stress during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

"Substance use and other addictions can be harmful to physical and mental health, - Malik said in a new paper, first reported by the New York Post. - For people without addictions, using substances will not help manage the stress of self-isolation, they can make things worse."

If you are partial to drink, Malik said it is OK to occasionally enjoy an alcoholic beverage within moderation - 14 units of alcohol a week (or about one glass of wine a night.) But exceeding that could weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to catching the virus.

Consuming more alcohol than the recommended amount can change the gut microbiome, which, in turn, can damage immune cells that line the small intestine.

"By damaging those cells in your intestines, it can make it easier for pathogens to cross into your bloodstream," - Nate Favini, MD, medical lead at Forward, a preventive primary care practice, previously told Insider.

Past research has found that binge-drinking, or consuming more than four or more drinks in two to three hours for women, and five or more drinks in that same time period for men, could also significantly weaken your immune system.