Effects Of Alcohol On Immune System


The increasing consumption of alcohol has been a reason of great concern. It has startled health workers worldwide because increased drinking leads to the risk of respiratory diseases. It is well-known that alcohol also increases the complications of COVID-19. Alcohol consumption also leads to various communicable and non-communicable diseases and mental health disorders. The body’s immune system is compromised and puts the organs at stake. Alcohol consumption can aggravate respiratory illnesses as it damages the lungs and impairs the cells responsible for immunity.

Alcohol and the Immune System

Alcohol use can weaken your immune system, leaving you at risk of infections caused by bacteria and viruses. It can lead to bacterial infections such as urinary tract infections. The immune system consists of many cells that get to know about infections and attack them. You tend to get an infection when the immune system takes a longer time recognizing this risk and thus responds late. You get better with time and when the immune system becomes strong enough to react and remove the infection.

The body’s immune system may take longer to recognize and respond to an infection if you drink alcohol because alcohol can suppress the immune system. The infection symptoms last longer and are more acute than for non-alcoholics. In severe cases, the body’s immune system is severely damaged and does not even respond well to medicines.

Short Term Effects

Drinking immoderate alcohol may have immediate effects on the body. It puts the body at risk of various harmful health conditions. These health conditions are generally a result of binge drinking. Certain health conditions like injuries due to drinking and driving, drowning, having a fall, or getting burnt are quite common. Binge drinking may also lead to domestic violence, suicide, and sexual assault. High blood alcohol levels may also result in alcohol poisoning. It also affects mental health and leads to behavioral issues. Miscarriage and stillbirth is a very common problem faced by women who consume alcohol. Drinking alcohol can suppress the immune system for up to 24 hours.

Long Term Effects

Alcohol use over a long period leads to immunity-related problems. Chronic alcohol use has a severe impact on the immune system. Increases in alcohol consumption lead to higher risk infections that do not even respond to medical treatments. Apart from suppressing the immune system, excessive drinking of alcohol may also lead to inflammation in the body cells and liver. It can cause severe discomfort and other medical ailments. As time passes, the addiction to drinking alcohol leads to chronic diseases and other serious problems like high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, liver cirrhosis, and digestive ailments. It can also cause cancer, weaken the immune system, lead to memory problems, mental health problems like depression and anxiety, and various social problems like family disputes and unemployment. Excessive use of alcohol raises the risk of pneumonia and inflammation in the body, two of the worst complications with COVID-19.

How Much Alcohol is too Much?

Generally, heavy drinking means more than three drinks per day for women and more than four per day for men. Even moderate drinking can have an impact on the immune system. The best way to keep the immune system healthy is to avoid consuming alcohol. However, light and occasional drinkers are less likely to experience a negative impact on their immunity than regular drinkers.

How to Repair the Immune System after Drinking?

After you stop consuming alcohol, you need to focus on the best measures to improve the body’s immune health. There are few simple ways to improve immunity:

    • Avoid smoking as it is another very risky proposition
    • Follow a balanced diet
    • Get a good sleep and rest well
    • Make exercise a part of the daily routine
    • Reduce stress and meditate
    • Practice good hygiene


These tips can help you improve the immune system’s health, but the best way to heal the entire body system is to stop drinking alcohol completely. Alcohol not only lets you compromise your health but also affects the family. Stop drinking to strengthen your immune system, mental health, and much more.