The Public Health Agency (PHA) has warned people that higher alcohol consumption at home during lockdown can lead to accidents and other problems at home. The PHA is also concerned about heavy alcohol use further burdening the health system which is already under pressure due to the pandemic.
Five advises are given to the Irish by health authorities to reduce the consumption of alcohol:
- Do not stockpile alcohol as it can lead to increased and heavy alcohol intake.
- Keep alcohol out of reach of children who are spending more time at home with schools closed. Do not consume alcohol around children.
- If alcohol is being consumed start later.
- Have alcohol-free days.
- Get help if you or someone you know has an alcohol problem from the “Drugs and Alcohol Northern Ireland” website.
The World Health Organization’s (WHO) FAQs about alcohol and COVID-19 covers important information regarding the risks of consuming alcohol during the pandemic. The factsheet contains the following facts:
- Increased vulnerability to COVID-19 as alcohol is linked with communicable and non communicable diseases and mental health disorders. Particularly, increased risk of being infected with the coronavirus because alcohol weakens immune system.
- A range of other health, safety and economic harms are addressed, including diversion of limited resources for alcohol instead of essential needs, worsened mental health, increased violence, injuries and accidents.
In April 2020, the WHO Regional Offices for Europe, the Americas (PAHO) and the Eastern Mediterranean (EMRO) released important new guidance and advice on alcohol and COVID-19.
Michael Owen, regional lead for alcohol and other drugs at the PHA also cautions that consuming alcohol could put people at higher risk of COVID-19. He encourages people to try new and creative methods to change their alcohol use behaviors such as experimenting with alcohol-free cocktails. For example, the Sober Inspiration campaign’s Drink Book offers 12 recipes for alcohol-free drinks to suit any mood and ocassion.
Movendi International’s Physical Distancing Coping Kit offers a wide range of resources, tips and information to help people stay alcohol-free and connected during the time of the pandemic. Access it below.