Drinking alcohol may heighten risk of getting coronavirus, WHO suggests

Drinking alcohol may heighten risk of getting coronavirus, WHO suggests

As the coronavirus pandemic leaves millions stuck at home, alcohol sales have risen drastically nationwide, with spirits and premixed cocktails receiving a significant uptick.

The World Health Organization, however, says that alcohol may put individuals at increased risk for coronavirus, weakening the body's immune system and putting drinkers at risk for other risky behaviors that could increase the likelihood of contracting coronavirus.

It does work as a disinfectant on surfaces, but too much alcohol consumption can actually make the body less capable of handling coronavirus. A 2015 study published in the journal Alcohol Research found that “excessive alcohol consumption" is associated with "adverse immune-related health effects such as susceptibility to pneumonia.”

"Alcohol compromises the body’s immune system and increases the risk of adverse health outcomes,” the WHO's regional office for Europe said in a report published Tuesday. “Therefore, people should minimize their alcohol consumption at any time, and particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Fact check:To minimize coronavirus risk, use alcohol for sanitizing, not for drinking

Crucially, the WHO points out, alcohol — especially in strong concentrations and large amounts — does not kill the coronavirus in the body, and can lead to death, as was the case when 44 people in Iran died of bootleg alcohol consumption.

The WHO also notes that alcohol may put those with mental health issues and previous alcohol-use disorders are at greater risk due to increased self-isolation. It may also heighten the risk of domestic violence.

Follow Joshua Bote on Twitter: @joshua_bote

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2020/04/16/coronavirus-alcohol-who-says-drinking-beer-wine-may-higher-risk/5143321002/

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