Alcohol compromises the body’s immune system and increases the risk of adverse health outcomes, says WHO
Alcohol compromises the body’s immune system and increases the risk of adverse health outcomes, says WHO|Representational image
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Should you drink alcohol amid COVID-19 scare? What you must know

As the world faces COVID-19 pandemic, it is essential to be informed about other health risks and hazards. Here’s all you should know about alcohol and coronavirus

Amlan Jyoti Das

Amlan Jyoti Das

Guwahati: There's some bad news for tipplers. In no way will consumption of alcohol protect you from COVID-19 or prevent you from being infected by it, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reiterated.

Publishing a statement on April 14, the same day US President Donald Trump announced that he plans to cut funding for the organisation, the WHO's regional office for Europe said: "At times of lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, alcohol consumption can exacerbate health vulnerability, risk-taking behaviours, mental health issues and violence."

WHO published some general facts one should know about the consumption of alcohol and health:

* Alcohol has effects, both short-term and long-term, on almost every single organ of your body. Overall, the evidence suggests that there is no “safe limit” – in fact, the risk of damage to your health increases with each drink of alcohol consumed.

* Alcohol use, especially heavy use, weakens the immune system and thus reduces the ability to cope with infectious diseases.

* Alcohol, even in very small quantities, is known to cause certain types of cancer.

* Alcohol alters your thoughts, judgement, decision-making and behaviour.

* Alcohol, even in small amounts, is a risk to the unborn child at any time during pregnancy.

* Alcohol increases the risk, frequency and severity of perpetration of interpersonal violence such as intimate partner violence, sexual violence, youth violence, elder abuse, and violence against children.

* Alcohol increases the risk of death and injury from road traffic injuries, drowning and falls.

* Heavy use of alcohol increases the risk of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), one of the most severe complications of COVID-19.

WHO has also shared some general myths about alcohol and COVID-19:

MYTH: Consuming alcohol destroys the virus that causes COVID-19.
FACT: Consuming alcohol will not destroy the virus, and its consumption is likely to increase the health risks if a person becomes infected with the virus. Alcohol (at a concentration of at least 60% by volume) works as a disinfectant on your skin, but it has no such effect within your system when ingested.

MYTH: Drinking strong alcohol kills the virus in the inhaled air.
FACT: Consumption of alcohol will not kill the virus in the inhaled air; it will not disinfect your mouth and throat; and it will not give you any kind of protection against COVID-19.

MYTH: Alcohol (beer, wine, distilled spirits or herbal alcohol) stimulates immunity and resistance to the virus.
FACT: Alcohol has a deleterious effect on your immune system and will not stimulate immunity and virus resistance.

For the full factsheet, you can visit here.

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