Addiction and Physical Health During COVID-19

a woman sneezes into a tissue as she thinks about addiction and your physical health

The COVID-19 virus has gone from a local epidemic to a global one. The number of confirmed cases continues to rocket upward. In the United States, every state now has a confirmed case. Many states are going all-in on trying to quarantine the virus with suggested social isolation and laws that areclosing businesses where people typically congregate, such as bars and restaurants. Even event venues such as concerts, art shows, even churches are being closed for the time being. Only non-essential businesses are still open. It might seem like there has never been more of a reason to drink or turn to drugs. But, now is not a great time for that. Your addiction and your physical health are not at their best, here.

COVID-19 101

COVID-19 is a nasty strain of the flu. Symptoms can appear in as little as two days, or as late as 14 days, after the exposure to the virus.Prominent symptoms of this particular flu include coughing, fever, and shortness of breath. Because of this, some experts speculate that many of the people who had respiratory infections earlier this year and later last year may have been COVID-19 cases.

As there are insufficient testing supplies to distribute, it is impossible to get an accurate count of infected people. When comparing similar symptoms to hospitalized patients, it is estimated that the actual current number is closer to  10 times that of those who were confirmed with a diagnosis. This also does not factor in the undiagnosed cases that were already cleared before attention was brought to the virus.

COVID-19 is an airborne virus that is easy to transmit. People may carry the virus without knowing it. When they interact with someone who carries the infection, they can transmit it to the people around them. They may even transmit it to a person with a compromised immune system. 

Those with compromised immune systems are at a high risk of the more complications the virus carries. These can result in more severe flu-like symptoms or death.

Addiction and Your Physical Health

Every flu season, someone jokes about drinking to cure the illness because “alcohol kills germs, haha.” Pure alcohol coming into direct contact with a germ, yes. However, when the bloodstream dilutes alcohol through the kidneys and liver, it doesn’t not. Though moderate drinking (the one glass of red wine per day, rule) can reduce inflammation and increase response to vaccination, chronic or heavy drinking actually reduceslymphocytes (cells that recognize antigens, produce antibodies, and destroy foreign cells) and increases the chance of bacterial and viral infections. 

Your addiction and your physical health are at odds with each other. Other aspects of consuming drugs or alcohol at the moment include how the effects of use do not mix well with the situation:

  • Loss of good judgment: The anxious voice in your head that may be keeping you from getting exposed may go quiet. This may encourage you to engage in risky behavior such as engage in a group activity or be physically affectionate with someone who is carrying the virus.
  • Vomiting: Regurgitation takes a lot out of the body. It adds to the dehydration that the body is already experiencing from alcohol or drugs. It also leaves you gasping for air over a, usually, dirty area. If you’re at a party where someone is sick, and you are taking deep breaths in a room with an airborne virus, infection is almost certain.

What to Do

Addiction and your physical health are not friends. In a time like this, health is the priority. As COVID-19 is a strain of the flu, the samepreventative measures apply. 

  • Avoid known sick people
  • Practice good hygiene
  • Do not consume drugs or alcohol

If an epidemic is making you rethink your use of drugs or alcohol, be sure to reach out to the Right Step at 713.528.3709 today. Our trained staff can help you on the path to sobriety and better health.

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