It’s a very common phrase that you might use when talking to your kids about eating candy, but what about things like alcohol? Where is the line from casual drinking to alcoholism? Did you know that over 3.2 million Florida adults admit to… Cook, R. T. T cell modulations in human alcoholics . In Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Immune Functions, Watson, R. R. The cellular interactions and the potential role of ethanol-related aberrant antigen presenting cell function, inappropriate IFN-γ and/or IL-12 production under the effect of ethanol are yet to be studied.

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The clinical implications of such a transient immunodepression after acute, moderate alcohol use need further studies. Failure of an appropriate initial immune response to pathogens probably has a profound and potentially prolonged effect on the immune system in certain types of infections. The effect of acute alcohol use on the immune system is of particular interest with regard to potentially increased susceptibility to HIV, mycobacterial, and other infections. That was what was surprising to many of us as doctors who knew that the lungs were so vulnerable. Again, overdoing it as well as heavy alcohol use. So not just, you know, a person who’s impacted by alcohol use. Um, the lung is also adversely affected, uh, looking at people with severe drinking, heavier drinking are more likely to develop pneumonia, TB, respiratory virus, RSV infection and acute respiratory distress syndrome or ARDS.

Short-Term Effects of Alcohol on the Immune System

The connection between moderate drinking and lower risk of cardiovascular disease has been observed in men and women. The immune system is one of the most important and most powerful parts of the body. It’s responsible for fighting off disease that comes in the form of germs, bacteria, viruses, and cell mutations. With such an important task, of course you’d want to do everything within your power to protect your immune system. If you drink regularly, though, it’s likely that you’re actually harming it — especially if you tend to drink in excess. Indeed, alcoholism is often a precursor to immune issues that thwart your body’s natural ability to fight disease. Learn about the diseases caused by alcohol abuse, including the adverse impact it can have on your immune system.

How much does alcohol weaken the immune system?

This weakening often goes unnoticed until severe infection occurs. Heavy drinking can result in a 3-7 times higher vulnerability to serious conditions, like pneumonia, developing from common respiratory tract infections.

Some experts have suggested that red wine makes the difference, but other research suggests that beverage choice appears to have little effect on cardiovascular benefit. Alcohol can have short- and long-term impacts on health and wellbeing. The short answer about the specifics surrounding alcohol and the COVID vaccine is that we don’t know all the details yet.

How To Repair and Support the Immune System After Drinking

That’s reason enough to consider swapping the occasional drink for a mocktail. Chronic alcohol consumption poses significant risks during COVID-19, potentially making people more vulnerable to disease, Murtagh-Schaffer says.


Your liver detoxifies and removes alcohol from the blood through a process known as oxidation. Once the liver finishes the process, alcohol becomes water and carbon dioxide. If alcohol accumulates in the system, it can destroy cells and, eventually, organs. People can develop pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas, from alcohol abuse. It can cause the heart to become weak and have an irregular beat pattern . It also puts people at higher risk for developing high blood pressure. Abusing alcohol causes bacteria to grow in your gut, which can eventually migrate through the intestinal wall and into the liver, leading to liver damage.

Excessive alcohol use weakens the immune system

Fully avoiding the negative health consequences of alcohol can be achieved by simply not drinking anymore. This can be difficult as alcohol has such heavy presence in social settings and as a coping mechanism to deal with stressful situations. If you have an average of one drink a day, you aren’t at as large of a risk of immunosuppression.

does alcohol weaken your immune system alsoimpairs the inner lining of the lung, making it harder for the lungs to get rid of bacteria or viruses that could cause pneumonia. Alcohol use can also cause vomiting, and someone who is intoxicated may accidentally inhale their vomit. This makes it even more likely that someone could get pneumonia while drinking. Since alcohol use suppresses the immune system, it makes the body less able to fight against lung infections. Alcohol also makes the body take longer to fight off a pneumonia infection. Because alcohol can suppress the immune system, the body may take longer to recognize and respond to a developing infection. This can make infection symptoms last longer and become more intense than they would otherwise.

This is because alcohol dehydrates the body and adds a toxic load for the liver to process. Further, heavy drinking can cause a hangover, which would only add to potential feelings of malaise that the vaccine may cause. Given this, it is easier on the body to filter the ingredients of the vaccine and build the necessary antibodies without adding the burden of alcohol on top of the process. Immunity is the body’s ability to fight off unwanted pathogens that increase your susceptibility to getting sick. While drinking alcohol can weaken your immune system, there are steps you can take to help you feel better the next day. Yet another aspect of alcohol’s impact on the immune system is its detrimental effect on a person’s quality of sleep. Research confirms that drinking alcohol before going to bed is linked to disrupted sleep patterns.

Why do I get drunk faster when I’m sick?

When you're sick with any bug, you're more likely to also be dehydrated—which can cause your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to rise faster, says Swartzwelder. That's because there's less water in your blood to dilute the alcohol.