Drinking Alcohol Can Make You 'More Susceptible' To COVID-19 Says Ottawa Public Health

They're answering Canada's biggest questions about COVID-19 and alcohol.
Can Alcohol Prevent COVID-19? Ottawa Health Experts Say It's The Opposite
Senior Editor

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in Canada, Canadians have had so many questions about the disease. Thankfully, Ottawa Public Health is on hand to help us out. In a recent statement, health experts have answered some of our biggest questions, such as “Can alcohol prevent COVID-19?” 

In a new statement, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) has attempted to dispel some of the myths that are circulating about booze and COVID-19, and they've answered some of Canada's biggest questions.

If you were hoping that a cheeky glass of bubbly or a daily cocktail would help protect you against the novel coronavirus, Ottawa’s top health experts have got some bad news.

This week, the health agency confirmed that alcohol doesn't actually kill the virus that causes the disease, and drinking won’t necessarily help protect you from contracting it.

“Drinking alcohol will not disinfect your mouth and throat and will not protect you from COVID-19 or prevent you from being infected by it,” an updated notice from OPH stated.

The same statement addresses the “myth” that some types of booze, such as beer, wine and distilled spirits, can make the immune system stronger.

In fact, the opposite is more accurate. According to OPH, “Alcohol can in fact weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to COVID 19 and other illnesses.”

A new Nanos poll, published in April 2020, concluded that 25% of Canadians (aged 35-54) and 21% of Canadians (aged 18-34) have recently increased the amount of alcohol they drink.

According to the survey, the main reasons for this is due to a lack of regular schedules, boredom, and stress.

In response, OPH explained that it's only a myth that booze helps people to cope with anxiety and stress.

Instead, the experts noted that, “Alcohol is known to increase the symptoms of panic and anxiety disorders, depression and other mental disorders.”

Last week, the health agency also issued some advice for Canadians who have been drinking more during the pandemic. 

Their suggestions included drinking slowly, and having no more than two standard drinks in three hours.

OPH has also addressed common concerns about COVID-19 that aren't related to alcohol, including whether the disease can be transmitted via groceries.

The health agency also assures Canadians that situations like this can affect your mental health.

"It is completely natural to feel stress and concern during these times and so it is important to practice positive coping strategies," the agency explains.

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance use, help is available. You can click here for additional resources.

Helena Hanson
Senior Editor
Helena Hanson is a Senior Editor for Narcity Media, leading the Travel and Money teams. She previously lived in Ottawa, but is now based in the U.K.