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This Drinking Habit Could Increase Your Risk of COVID-19, New Research Suggests

Binge drinking, or having more than four drinks per occasion, may have some health consequences.
FACT CHECKED BY Samantha Boesch

While you may tend to sip on a glass of wine at the end of the day or enjoy grabbing a pint of beer with your friends on occasion, it is good to be aware of the various reasons to avoid overindulging on too much alcohol. Regularly consuming an excessive amount of alcohol can lead to liver disease, heart disease, stroke, and cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On top of that, a new study has now found that binge drinking can increase your risk of being infected with COVID-19.

The study, which was published recently in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, involved researchers taking a look at seven groups of women in their 20s who reported comparable habits both before and after the COVID-19 pandemic began. These habits included using cannabis and binge drinking alcohol, as well as smoking cigarettes and e-cigarettes. The researchers also noted if and how these particular habits may have changed throughout the pandemic as well as instances of COVID-19 infection within the groups of participants.

The research results showed that women between 25 and 28 years old were more likely to end up with COVID-19 if they consumed four or more drinks of alcohol per sitting.

Read on to learn more about the findings of this study, and for more COVID-19 info check out Surprising Side Effects From COVID.

friends drinking alcohol

"Our research shows that when young women binge drink, they're also heightening their risk of contracting COVID-19," said corresponding study author Tammy Chung, a professor of psychiatry and director of the Center for Population Behavioral Health at the Rutgers Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research, according to EurekAlert!

Chung explains that "[t]his can be due to several factors associated with binge drinking, such as being less vigilant in using preventive behaviors such as social distancing when intoxicated."

While noting that the study acknowledges its "limitations," Dana Ellis Hunnes PhD, MPH, RD, senior clinical dietitian at UCLA Medical Center, assistant professor at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, and author of Recipe for Survival, tells Eat This, Not That!, "we do know alcohol is associated with disinhibition in many aspects."

 The 9 Worst Drinking Habits for Your Body

Specifically, although this particular study focused on the drinking habits of women who were in a certain age range, and how their associated behavior potentially led to COVID-19 infection, Hunnes notes that "we also know, on average, men tend to engage in more risky drinking behaviors than women." Because of that, Hunnes explains that "it may be possible to extrapolate" when it comes to how the findings might also apply to the rest of the population.

Regardless of the limitations of this study, its findings can be helpful in understanding a bit more about the potential dangers of binge drinking. While drinking in moderation on occasion is oftentimes perfectly safe, having four or more drinks during one sitting may have a multitude of health consequences.

Desirée O
Desirée O is a freelance writer who covers lifestyle, food, and nutrition news among other topics. Read more about Desirée