Alcohol abuse is a widespread issue. Every year, millions of people die from alcohol-related causes. Those who abuse alcohol are vulnerable to a series of health problems such as liver disease, digestive difficulties, heart problems, and more.
But, very few people know the connection between alcohol and viral infections. This is a detailed guideline of the link between alcohol and viral infections.
Why is Alcohol Such a Big Problem?
Drinking is such a common thing that almost everyone has tried it. Based on recent reports from 2018, a huge percentage of the population is consuming alcoholic beverages. Some more often than others.
But, there is one problem, many people don’t care about the amounts they consume. They use more and more liquor to make them feel better. So, before they even realize, they’ve become addicted to drinking.
Over 14 million people 18 years or older are dealing with alcohol use disorder. That’s more than 5.8% of the U.S. population.
Even the younger generation between the ages of 12 and 17 experiences the same issue. In fact, more than 400,000 adolescents in 2018 were recorded to have alcohol use disorder.
If you or a loved one is suffering from alcohol dependence, try a medical detox for alcohol in Texas, such as the one offered by Stonegate Center (located just west of Fort Worth). With a proper detox, you can get your life back on track.
Alcohol and Viral Infections
According to medical studies, alcohol use, particularly heavy drinking, can make a person susceptible to infectious diseases both directly and indirectly. It can also make the already present diseases a lot worse.
The CDC explains that alcohol abuse will increase the odds of developing countless infections indirectly. Since the alcohol will interfere with the central nervous system, it can elevate the risk of:
- Injuries from being intoxicated (burns, scrapes, and falls)
- Taking part in risky behaviors (using illegal drugs and having unprotected intercourse)
- Alcohol poisoning
- Being a victim of sexual or physical abuse
- Reduced will to do proper hygiene
But it will also directly reduce the overall health and well-being of an individual. Alcohol can completely modulate the inflammatory and anti-viral properties of the monocytes. The longer is consumed, the more intense the negative effect will be.
Eventually, it will reduce the anti-viral effects of the immune system and impair the body’s natural ability to fend off infections. Heavy liquor consumption affects the number of immune cells in a person’s body. It interferes with their functions and destroys the already present cells.
When you pair that up with a poor immune response and constant stress, it becomes difficult for the body to stay healthy.
How Much Does The Alcohol Affect The Immune System?
Based on reports from the New England Journal of Medicine, alcohol abuse can have a massive impact on the entire defense system. But, its impact will vary based on the amount consumed and how often the individual drinks.
However, even occasional binge drinking can impair the natural defenses of the human body. Here are the typical ways alcohol abuse will affect the immune system.
Each infection or disease will affect the body in its own way, research shows. For example, hepatitis C can make people vulnerable to liver damage and high mortality rates.
Because of the damaged immune system, the body can be susceptible to viral and bacterial infections. Viral being the ones caused by viruses and bacterial being the ones caused by infections. Based on studies, this could lead to an immune deficiency in the respiratory and gut mucosa.
In many cases, alcohol can also decrease the efficiency of vaccines for countless illnesses, such as pneumonia and influenza. The problem is that the more the person drinks, the more inflamed the organs become.
This will take a toll on the pancreas, brain, and gastrointestinal tract. For individuals suffering from alcohol abuse, it is important that you get on-time treatment. With a alcohol abuse recovery program in Dallas-Fort Worth, you can get the support you need.
Does That Mean You Are Vulnerable to COVID-19 If You Drink?
Medical experts consider COVID-19 a respiratory disease. It can cause a range of different breathing difficulties and can be transferred from respiratory droplets in the air. Drinking will also expose the body to potential coronavirus complications.
Since the beverage can impair the immune response and make you susceptible to diseases, it’s best to avoid drinking alcohol during the epidemic. That way, you will reduce the chance for risky behaviors and protect your body from the virus, advises the CDC.
If you are worried about your drinking routine during the pandemic, it’s time to drop the dangerous habit. By quitting alcohol, you can keep your body in tip-top shape and reduce your odds of contracting COVID-19.
Even though it may not be easy, you have to try. Our alcohol abuse recovery program for men in Dallas-Fort Worth can help patients overcome their alcohol dependency. Moreover, we have a 90-day alcohol rehab center for women, which enables our clients to have access to a safe environment where they will have an easier time overcoming their drinking habits.
What About Pregnant Women and Alcohol?
Women who drink expose their unborn babies to impaired growth, disorders, and lifelong health complications. They also have a higher chance of having stillbirths, stated the National Institutes of Health.
If a pregnant woman consumes alcohol, she can disrupt the fetus’s development. Long-term alcohol abuse can reduce the baby’s immune system and make them susceptible to infections, regardless of the stage of pregnancy.
But, during the second trimester, women should be extra careful. This is the time when the fetus is starting to develop its immune system. Any dangerous substances, chemicals, or addictive compounds will leave a long-lasting effect on the baby’s natural defense mechanism.
That’s why future mothers need to take extra precautions. If you are pregnant and want to treat your alcohol dependency, our inpatient alcohol rehab for women, named Stonegate Center Hilltop can definitely help. With a proper long-term residential treatment program for an alcoholic, you can keep your baby safe and recover successfully.
How Long Does It Take for The Immune System to Recuperate After Alcohol Abuse?
Clinical research shows that alcohol abuse can slow down the body’s natural healing process. It will take some time for the tissues to completely recover after an injury or an illness. Depending on your health state, you might have to wait a few days or more.
If you are a regular drinker, and you’ve stopped consuming alcoholic beverages, the natural defense mechanism will need a couple of days to start recovering.
But, if you are dealing with underlying health issues, especially liver damage, you will need a week or so before the immune system will start to recover.
For individuals who rarely drink and engage in binge drinking, it will probably take around a few hours to 24h for the immune system to get back on track. The recovery rate will greatly depend on a person’s overall health and drinking habits.
A complete recovery will take some time and effort. Look for an alcohol detox center near me if you want to start with a medical detox as soon as possible.
What Underlying Condition Affects The Immune System Recuperation Rate?
Multiple conditions can suppress the natural defenses of the human body. The alcohol will only worsen the condition and make it difficult for the body to restore its immune system.
Therefore, individuals who have any of these underlying health conditions will need a much longer time to get their immunity back on track. These health conditions include:
- Hepatitis C and B
- Elevated blood pressure
- Metabolic condition
- Respiratory syndromes
- Liver illness
- Heart problems
People who experience these health issues are advised to abstain from alcoholic beverages.
Can I Drink With a Cold?
It’s not a good idea to drink liquor with a cold, experts explain. The more you drink, the more dehydrated you will feel, which will make the congestion a lot worse. Plus, alcohol disrupts the immune system. Therefore, it will mix badly with any medications you might be taking.
Besides, the booze won’t have any positive effect on the common cold. It can’t help the body recover quicker or soothe the discomfort. The only thing it can do is toxify the organs and make us forget about the pain.
But, there is one study that says frequent drinking might reduce the prevalence of the common cold. Although it is not a good idea to drink it when sick, it might help people avoid the cold when they are healthy.
Based on the reports, non-drinkers had higher odds of experiencing two or more common cold episodes in the past year. At the same time, those who drank booze regularly had only one common cold episode in a year. Because the amount and frequency of alcohol intake are unknown, more research is necessary to confirm this claim.
Are You Struggling With Alcoholism or Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)?
Heavy alcohol use can affect the immune system and make the body susceptible to infections and diseases. It’s best to take the right precautions, especially with the ongoing pandemic, if you want to stay healthy. The most practical thing to do that is to drop the drinking habit. Try a detox therapy if you can’t do it by yourself.
For those looking for a long-term solution to sobriety, give us a call! Our Admissions team can be reached by phone at (817) 993-9733 or by email at email@example.com. We offer 45-day, 60-day, and 90-day inpatient rehab programs for men and women with a faith-based and gender-separate approach.
As for cost, most of our clients utilize their mental health / substance abuse benefits offered by their commercial health insurance provider. Doing so, drastically lowers the cost of treatment – especially for our clients with Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Aetna, Ambetter, HealthChoice of Oklahoma, and PHCS Multiplan. If you’d like a 100% confidential and transparent quote, fill out our INSURANCE VERIFICATION FORM, and we’ll give you a call within the hour with a financial payment plan.
Since 2010, we’ve helped thousands of alcoholics overcome their addiction and life happy, full, and successful lives in recovery thanks to our program. So, give us a ring to learn more! We look forward to having you join our recovery community.
John Eckelbarger is a Business Development Representative for Stonegate Center. With a BSA in Chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin, he has an interest in the neurobiology of addiction as well as the pharmacology of drugs. He hopes to bolster Stonegate Center’s status at the forefront of addiction medicine through bold, innovative content creation. He is currently pursuing his MBA in Finance from Texas Christian University.