Coronavirus warning: Drinking alcohol could increase your risk of COVID-19 says new report

Coronavirus warning: Drinking alcohol could increase your risk of COVID-19 says new report


Coronavirus is subjecting the UK population to a test it was not prepared for. The virus has created living conditions that are putting a strain on many people’s mental health. Three weeks ago the people of Britain were placed under a lockdown, which meant they could not leave their house barring exceptional circumstances.


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Yesterday, this policy was revised and extended for a further three weeks.

Government officials have assured the policy, which is aimed at curbing the spread of the virus until the government can contain it, is helping to flatten the curve.

However, staying at home for extended periods has led to an alarming rise in domestic violence cases and a number of mental health issues.

The temptation to turn to alcohol as a way of adjusting is understandably great but the World Health Organization has issued a warning against excessive alcohol consumption.

A report published by WHO yesterday suggests the harmful effects of drinking too much alcohol extend beyond compounding mental health issues and domestic violence, whoever.

The unhealthy habit may COVID-19 more deadly.

The report said: “Alcohol compromises the body’s immune system and increases the risk of adverse health outcomes.

“Therefore, people should minimise their alcohol consumption at any time, and particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

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Carina Ferreira-Borges, Programme Manager for Alcohol and Illicit Drugs, Carina Ferreira-Borges at the European arm of WHO, warned that drinking too much could cost “too many victims.”

She added: “During the Covid-19 pandemic, we should really ask ourselves what risks we are taking in leaving people under lockdown in their homes with a substance that is harmful both in terms of their health and the effects of their behaviour on others, including violence.”

What do the recommended guidelines say about alcohol consumption?

“To keep health risks from alcohol to a low level, both men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week,” says the NHS.

A unit of alcohol is 8g or 10ml of pure alcohol, which is about:

  • Half a pint of lower to normal-strength lager/beer/cider (ABV 3.6 percent)
  • A single small shot measure (25ml) of spirits (25ml, ABV 40 percent)


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A small glass (125ml, ABV 12 percent) of wine contains about 1.5 units of alcohol.

Other tips to keep your alcohol-related health problems at bay

To keep your risk of alcohol-related harm low, the NHS says:

  • If you drink as much as 14 units a week, it’s best to spread this evenly over three or more days
  • If you’re trying to reduce the amount of alcohol you drink, it’s a good idea to have several alcohol-free days each week

If you’re pregnant or trying to become pregnant, the safest approach is to not drink alcohol at all to keep risks to your baby to a minimum

In addition to weakening your immune system, drinking too much alcohol also raises your risk of developing life-threatening health conditions, some of which have been identified as risk factors for COVID-19.

These are:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Cancer

In addition to limiting your alcohol intake, there are things you can do to help reduce the risk of you and anyone you live with getting ill with coronavirus.

Health bodies are urging people to wash their hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds.

Other hygiene tips include:

  • Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards

“Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean,” advises the NHS.

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