Almost everyone is aware of the fact that alcohol harms the immune system, and also impairs the functioning of the brain. In the COVID-19 scenario, a person who consumes alcohol is undoubtedly more vulnerable to infection transmission. The main reason is of course that he loses the sense of judgment when a person is under the influence of alcohol. Moreover, social drinking sessions in restaurants and bars can cause transmission due to exposure as well. The health experts in and around Iowa are constantly trying to come up with a more precise conclusion about the effects of alcohol on transmission and contraction of COVID-19. The most unfortunate part of the story is that cases are constantly rising in this area, and the probable reason is alcohol.
Assistant professor at Iowa University, Paul Gilbert has been working in the Public Health Department of the college for quite a few years. According to him, alcohol influence plays with the brains of a person. As a result, while in a drunk state, he/she may not be able to follow the basic safety measures for COVID-19. For example, wearing masks, and social distancing are two of the most important safety measures.
Effects of alcohol consumption on mind and body
The professor adds that alcohol may have several direct effects on your mind and body. The best way to describe is to state that the chemical functioning of the brain changes just from the first sip of alcohol. Gilbert, who is a researcher studying the drinking patterns of people has a lot to say about the subject. He says that it’s still a mystery as to when exactly, the reaction in your brain will start after the consumption of alcohol. However, one of these is sure that you will not be in a condition to understand what to do and what not when you reach that stage.
For people who drink moderately and infrequently, the effect happens faster because the brain is not immune to the effects of alcohol. When the brain chemistry changes, the first section to experience the effect is the prefrontal cortex. It is that part of your brain that helps you to control your impulse or stay cautious.
In other words, the prefrontal cortex helps in instant decision making. Gilbert says that this section experiences impairment the more you consume alcohol. So, you know why people under the influence of alcohol may not follow measures such as social distancing or wear masks. Alcohol is supposed to have a disinhibiting effect on people. It is like loosening up or relaxing the body at a different level.
Limit and frequency matters
The professor adds that a moderate or small amount of alcohol may exactly serve the purpose of loosening up. As a result, you can interact with people easily, and become more cheerful. On the contrary, there are side-effects too. The major one is of course losing your conscience and not understanding how to differentiate between what to do and what not to. Besides, hampering your judgment capacity, alcohol also damages the immune system massively.
The simple concept is that the higher the amount and frequency of alcohol going inside your body, the more the damage to the immune system. Therefore, coming back to the reference to the COVID-19 scenario, if a person who consumes alcohol is infected, the risk is more. The main reason is the damage that has already been done to the immune system. As a result, your body will not be able to fight back any symptoms of infection or illness for the simple reason of alcohol exposure.
Alcohol consumption in the COVID-19 scenario
Highlighting the recent scenario and the rise of cases in Ohio’s Johnson County, Professor Gilbert says that it is not at all the right time for people to go out. However, the same is happening, and the worst part is that people are without facemasks inside these public places. So, if you want to go out and still stay safe, try to stay away from alcohol. If at all you cannot, you may try to drink something with a lower alcohol level. A 27-year old senior marketing student Gabby Coleman recently said that she is tested positive for coronavirus. The infection that she is experiencing was initially asymptomatic.
Later, symptoms such as loss of taste started developing. The young woman confessed that she assumes the contamination took place when she was at her job as a bartender. There is another probable case that she spoke about. It was when she went out to another bar to enjoy and drink with her friends. She stated that alcohol undoubtedly has all the bad effects on people. As a result, an individual will lose all senses, leave alone social distancing, and safety measures.
What happens during social drinking?
From her work experience, Gabby says that people after 2-3 drinks just keep aside their masks. They may even come up to the counter to talk to her personally. However, just when they were sober, getting inside the restaurant was a scary thing for them. Also, the problem is that you become more social and emotional under the influence of alcohol. So, if you are out drinking with your friends, the first thing after getting drunk is that you may hug them.
According to Johnson County’s community health manager Sam Jarvis, there is an evident rise in the number of cases. Moreover, the most affected are the younger generation. He adds that it is difficult to point out the source of the transmission right now. However, he believes that several factors are influencing the situation right now.
He adds that social drinking and general alcohol consumption may be two of the major factors for the spike in figures. Jarvis says that it is evident when someone goes out to drink, obviously, he/she will not wear face masks. However, the enclosed areas where you go can cause severe transmissions. Plus, once you start socializing, and there is loud music, maintaining a 6-feet distance is next to impossible.