Drinking too much can be harmful to your health. Excessive alcohol use includes binge drinking, which is defined as five or more drinks on an occasion for men, and four or more drinks on an occasion for women. Other forms of excessive alcohol use include heavy drinking (15 or more drinks a week for men, eight or more drinks a week for women), and any drinking by anyone pregnant or younger than 21 years. Excessive alcohol use leads to more than 95,000 deaths each year in the United States. Excessive alcohol use increases the risk for violence, injuries, and motor vehicle crashes. It can also increase the risk of long-term health issues such as liver disease, cancer, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and birth defects.
- Drinking alcohol:
- If you choose to drink, do so in moderation. The 2015 -2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans defines moderate drinking as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. The Dietary Guidelines do not recommend anyone start drinking for any reason.
- There are some people who should not drink any alcohol, including those who are:
- Younger than age 21.
- Pregnant or may be pregnant.
- Driving, planning to drive, or participating in other activities requiring skill, coordination, and alertness.
- Taking certain over-the-counter or prescription medications.
- Experiencing certain medical conditions.
- Recovering from alcoholism or are unable to control the amount they drink.
- Make sure you can practice recommended social distancing if you consider visiting bars, nightclubs, and other locations where people gather and drink alcohol.
Drinking alcohol and COVID-19
- Drinking alcohol does not protect you from COVID-19.
- Drinking alcohol weakens your body’s ability to fight infections, increasing the risk of complications and making it harder to get better if you are sick.
- Alcohol use can increase the risk of acute respiratory distress syndrome and pneumonia, which are sometimes associated with COVID-19.