Tags: drinking | alcohol | flu

Drinking a Bit Too Much? Watch Out for Flu

Friday, 25 Sep 2009 10:37 AM

In addition to washing your hands frequently and staying away from large crowds to lower your risk of catching flu, you might also want to bend your elbow less. Researchers have found that binge drinking, loosely defined as drinking enough alcohol in one session to become inebriated, not only brings a morning hangover but lowers the body’s ability to fight off infections, including the flu, for at least 24 hours.

Dr. Steven Pruett of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State University and his colleagues gave mice water spiked with alcohol.

They found that large amounts of alcohol over a short period of time inhibited the production of proteins known as pro-inflammatory cytokines that help fight infections, and increased the production of one type of cytokine (interleukin-10 or IL10) that keeps the immune system from becoming overactive, but also reduces the body’s resistance to infection.

Some of the cytokines were still inactive 24 hours after being exposed to alcohol.

“The timeframe during which the risk of infection is increased might be at least 24 hours,” said Pruett.

“While we all know the immediate short term effects of binge drinking, there is now more evidence emerging about how it can damage our bodies in the longer term,” said Don Shenker, chief executive of Britain’s charity Alcohol Concern.

“The negative effect of alcohol on the immune system is proven, but many people aren’t aware of the link.”

© HealthDay

   
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In addition to washing your hands frequently and staying away from large crowds to lower your risk of catching flu, you might also want to bend your elbow less. Researchers have found that binge drinking, loosely defined as drinking enough alcohol in one session to become inebriated, not only brings
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Friday, 25 Sep 2009 10:37 AM
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