And all of those sites have lots of printed resources and information as well. A specific type of pneumonia, called aspiration pneumonia, occurs when someone accidentally breathes in food or fluid that contains bacteria. Alcohol makes people vomit, and it is very easy to accidentally inhale some of this vomit. Vomit that is inhaled into the lungs often contains bacteria. When combined with a suppressed immune system, this can be the perfect storm for a bad case of pneumonia.

  • In cases where an individual has been drinking heavily over a long period of time, they will find that they are sick more often than their peers even if they are otherwise in better shape.
  • Not only does the immune system mediate alcohol-related injury and illness, but a growing body of literature also indicates that immune signaling in the brain may contribute to alcohol use disorder.
  • Psychologically speaking, a stressor can be events or environments that individuals might consider demanding challenging or threatening individual safety.

When the gut barrier cannot function properly, harmful bacteria can leak into the bloodstream, leading to further complications. Other elements can increase your chances of catching COVID-19 due to excessive alcohol consumption. Long-term respiratory infections does alcohol weaken your immune system such as colds, flu, or other respiratory infections don’t seem to go away due to your immune system’s lowered ability to fight them off. The overconsumption of alcohol can weaken your immune system, which will make you more susceptible to developing cancer.

Alcohol and the Immune System: Why You May Want to Stay Dry This Winter

And that’s the other person that we want to talk to because they consist of many different people from many different walks of life, adults. And they make up about 30% of the drinkers in the United States and trust. We see that with people that we work with at the bedside in the hospital who may be risky drinkers is a term that has used. I do want to emphasize, uh, from some of the online versus there’s a fact check that needs to go out that, you know, to minimize the Corona virus risk.

why does alcohol weaken your immune system

Not only that, but those who drink alcohol to excess may feel more inclined to engage in unsafe social activity, irrelevant of any laws that already exist where they live. Whether it’s at the local bar or in an outdoor space, one’s inhibitions decrease when intoxicated. In the case of some, this can lead to spreading through physical contact, which they could otherwise avoid if the individual could refrain during sobriety.

Alcoholism Statistics

Moreover, some people shouldn’t drink at all, according to the Dietary Guidelines. This includes people who are pregnant, have alcohol abuse disorder, or are taking medications that interact with alcohol. Certain conditions also make alcohol problematic, Favini says. The immune system is how your body defends itself from infections — like harmful bacteria and viruses — and prevents you from getting sick. But just like a muscle, the immune system can become weak and fail to protect you against infection as well.

  • According to the Cleveland Clinic, once you take a sip of alcohol, your body prioritizes breaking down alcohol over several other bodily functions.
  • While your body is metabolizing alcohol, it has a lower ability to fight off infections and viruses, making you more vulnerable to developing a cold or more serious condition.
  • This happens due to how the immune system reacts to threats of illness or infection.

I’ve got more ability to do that now, even if it’s, you know, spread over several weeks. Now certainly other substances can jeopardize the immune system as well. We know taping right now and marijuana smoking any kind of inhalation types of drug use, um, puts the lungs further at risk too. But even 200 years ago, the first surgeon general, Dr. Benjamin Rush wrote about what he saw as problems with alcohol consumption and significant complications with pneumonia.