Drinking alcohol can worsen coronavirus, WHO advises restricting access

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Drinking alcohol can increase the risk of catching Covid-19 and making it worse if you get it, said the World Health Organization, recommending that government officials around the world limit its access during blockages. coronavirus.

“Alcohol compromises the body’s immune system and increases the risk of adverse health outcomes,” the WHO regional office for Europe said on its website on Tuesday, citing heavy drinking on. the whole continent.

Alcohol consumption is associated with a number of communicable and non-communicable diseases, which can make a person more vulnerable to contracting Covid-19. It can also exacerbate mental health problems, risky behaviors and sexual violence, especially in countries that have implemented social distancing measures that largely keep the population quarantined in their homes.

The United Nations health agency has also released a fact sheet dispelling the “dangerous myth” that drinking high levels of alcohol can kill “the coronavirus.

“This is not the case,” said the WHO, adding that it could lead to serious health problems, including death, especially if falsified with methanol. About 3 million deaths a year are attributable to alcohol without a pandemic resulting in increased consumption.

“Therefore, people should minimize their alcohol consumption at all times, and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the office said.

The Americans are nevertheless filling up. Alcohol sales at US liquor stores and grocery stores increased 22% for the week ending March 28 compared to the same period last year, according to data compiled by Nielsen. And more Americans are drinking at home, according to financial services firm Rabobank, as the on-site restaurant and beverage market is likely to miss $ 15 billion in alcohol sales in the next two months.

As millions of people around the world stay at home to stop the spread of Covid-19, António Guterres, head of the United Nations, which is the mother organization of WHO, warned earlier this month that the world was witnessing a “frightening worldwide surge of violence. He said the social and economic stress of the epidemic and the restrictions on movement have all contributed to the increase in abuse.

Last month, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus offered advice on how to stay physically and mentally healthy as part of the foreclosure measures.

“During this difficult time, it is important to continue to take care of your physical and mental health. This will not only help you in the long run, but also help you fight COVID-19 if you get it, “said Tedros. Here are the WHO’s tips for staying healthy:

  • Eat healthy to boost your immune system.
  • Limit alcohol and sugary drinks.
  • Do not smoke. It can exacerbate the symptoms of COVID-19 and increase your risk of becoming seriously ill.
  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day for adults and an hour a day for children.
  • If you are allowed to go outside, go for a walk, run or bike while keeping a safe distance from others.
  • If you can’t leave the house, dance, do yoga, or go up and down the stairs.
  • People working from home should not stay in one position for too long.
  • Take a 3-minute break every 30 minutes.
  • Get out of the crisis of your mind. Listen to music, read a book, or play a game.

“It is normal to feel stressed, confused and scared during an attack. Talking to people you know and trust can help, ”said Tedros. “And try not to read or watch too much news if you are concerned.” Get your information from reliable sources once or twice a day. “

CNBC’s Amelia lucas and Dawn Kopecki contributed to this report.

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