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COVID-19 and the Effects of Alcohol on the Immune System

In light of the nationwide alcohol ban that South African president put into place at the start of the lockdown, many people have started wondering what are the effects of alcohol on the body that a total prohibition was necessary?

Although the president recently announced a potential shift into level three of lockdown in South Africa, many health experts are hoping that the sale of alcohol does not commence just yet.

effects of alcohol

Alcohol Health Risks and COVID-19 - Negative Effects of Alcohol

Because every new pandemic that we experience is unique, medical experts are still navigating their way through this particular one, decoding its behaviour one step at a time.

However, there are certain things that we already know about the body, how it works, what harms it and what it needs us to do to protect it. One of these is avoiding alcohol.

There are countless reasons why we should avoid alcohol consumption in general, but in this article, we will focus particularly on the effects of alcohol on the body and how it affects our ability to fight of the Coronavirus.

Effects of Alcohol on the Immune System

According to the World Health Organisation, alcohol consumption can have serious effects on the body and its natural functions that are designed to keep us strong and healthy.

One of these functions is the immune system which is our body’s very own built in army of good guys.

The immune system is an extremely complex system with various levels of defense. It is designed to stop bad guys like viruses from entering and taking over our cells.

However, excessive alcohol consumption can significantly compromise the way our bodies respond to infections.

This generally starts in the gut, where it disturbs the natural flora in our digestive systems which are key role-players in a healthy immune system.

When our intestinal flora is out of harmony, pathogens find it easier to penetrate deeper into our cells and as other areas of our immune system are also compromised due to alcohol consumption, it becomes only a matter of time before we get sick.

Apart from the other well-known effects of alcohol abuse, the fact that it suppresses normal or healthy lung function, subsequently increasing the risk of developing pneumonia and other pulmonary disease is now under scrutiny.

This is particularly concerning when we look at the inherent traits of COVID-19, a highly contagious virus which directly attacks the respiratory system.

Other Risk Factors Related to Alcohol Consumption

Separate to the concern related to the effects of alcohol on the immune system, there are numerous other concerning factors to consider.

Although many individuals may regard themselves as “casual drinkers” who, therefore, have no reason for concern, we have to ask what the definition of casual or moderate drinking is.

Generally speaking, one drink per day for women and two drinks for men is considered as moderate drinking. Anything more than this amount is overexposing the body to alcohol and its detrimental effects.

Furthermore, being under lockdown can cause immense boredom, frustration and stress which may prompt a light drinker to significantly increase their intake of alcohol as a means to cope or simply just to pass the time.

Lastly, there is the obvious concern that some predisposed individuals may be likely to develop alcohol dependence and/or abuse tendencies during this time which, in turn, becomes an issue of addiction.

Overall, consuming alcohol should be avoided or extremely limited at best.

Step Away Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation Centre in South Africa

Both moderate and excessive drinking habits are detrimental to our overall mental, physical and emotional health.

The effects of alcohol on the body can place us in a position where we are more prone to infections and less capable of fighting them off effectively.

If you or a loved one is struggling to deal with or overcome alcohol addiction, or if you would like more information on the effects of alcohol on the immune system, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Comments are closed for this post, but if you have spotted an error or have additional info that you think should be in this post, feel free to contact us.

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