Are You Weakening Your Immune System?


​​Given the current COVID-19 environment, the Southern Forests Alcohol and other Drug Committee are urging the community to consider their alcohol intake and the impacts this could have in contributing to a weaker immune system.

One can of full strength beer is 1.4 standard drinks, or a restaurant serve of wine is 1.4 standard drinks. Keeping this in mind, the National Health and Medical Research Council recommends for adults to drink no more than two standard drinks daily to reduce the risk of lifetime harm, and no more than four standard drinks in a drinking session to reduce the risk of injury. (Alcohol Think Again, MHC).

So, when was the last time you truly considered how much alcohol you drink….really thought about how many standard drinks you would consume in one day or in a week? Some people may turn to alcohol for short-term stress relief or because of boredom, but rather than being an effective coping mechanism, alcohol can exacerbate stress and anxiety. Alcohol can also weaken the immune system, making it more difficult to fight off viruses and infection, and can increase the risk of developing alcohol-caused disease, like cancer and stroke.

The Australian health system is currently already stretched and here in WA there is a persistent concern about how a second wave of the COVID-19 virus will impact health services. With every drink, the risk of accidents and/or injury increase for the person drinking and others around them. Alcohol increases the likelihood of adding to the health crisis in ways such as: 

    • Getting involved in anti-social behaviour and conflict, that can lead to fights and violence
    • Injury due to falls, burns, car crashes etc.
    • Unprotected or unwanted sexual encounters
    • Increase in mental illness and suicide/self harm behaviours​
Top five tips to help reduce your alcohol intake-

Set yourself a drink limit and count your drinks
Set yourself a drink limit that is consistent with advice from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), which is no more than two standard drinks on any day or no more than four in a single drinking session and stop once you've reached it. You'll find you can do without that extra drink after all and your body will thank you for it the next day.

Have a few alcohol-free days a week
Having a few alcohol-free days each week will help you stay healthy and break any bad habits, such as reaching for a drink each day after work. Take this opportunity to adopt some other healthy behaviours, such as eating well and exercising.

Swap to low or no alcohol alternatives
Low and no alcohol products are a good alternative for people who want to reduce their drinking – they have the same or similar taste but contain less alcohol. There are an ever increasing range of low and no alcohol products available at many retailers.

Keep up your water and food intake
If you're thirsty, reach for water or a non-alcohol alternative instead of alcohol and make sure to alternate your alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks. A glass of water, soda water, juice or soft drink will do the trick.
Drinking on an empty stomach will increase the rate that alcohol is metabolised in your body. Eating before or while you drink alcohol will help it be absorbed into the bloodstream at a lower rate.

Support people who don't want to drink
Try and surround yourself with supportive people who like to get together and socialise without alcohol. Speak up, look after your mates and others, and don't try to encourage people to drink if they don't want to.

For additional support to address your alcohol or other drug use please contact the Alcohol and Drug Support Line 1800 198 024 for free counselling and advice 24 hours a day, or South West Community Alcohol and Drug Service on 9721 9256, or contact your local GP.



Authorised by Andrew Campbell, Chief Executive Officer
Contact: Sheri Laba, Public Relations Officer

Contact for comment: Paul Omodei, Shire President
Contact: 0448 810 773
Page reviewed: 02 Nov 2020 8:34am