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Doctors warn about potential danger of drinking during stressful times

Posted at 6:24 PM, Jul 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-15 20:31:16-04

A surge in alcohol sales across the country is prompting warnings from physicians about the potential dangers of consuming alcohol.

Here in Utah, the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (DABC) is reporting a significant spike in alcohol sales over the last several months.

Dr. Amy Khan, executive medical director with Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah is not surprised. "While people are staying at home, and bars and restaurants have closed, more people may be having a glass of wine with dinner, a cocktail in the evening, or a beer after working in the yard over the weekend," she said.

Khan explained that for many people alcohol can be a simple stress reliever, but for others in can be dangerous. "It’s important to understand that unintentional injuries can result from using alcohol. Things like sprains and strains, motor vehicle crashes...as well as all organ systems can potentially be affected through heavy use. This includes our immunity, which means our ability to fight infection, which is important during COVID-19," said Khan.

So when does your drinking become a risk?

"Risky drinking is defined as heavy alcohol use such as having over 14 drinks per week for men or over seven drinks per week for women, or engaging in what’s called binge drinking. Binge drinking is over three drinks for women at any one occasion or over four drinks for men at any drinking occasion," said Khan.

To prevent developing bad habits at a time like this, Dr. Khan suggests using other stress relievers by engaging in activities such as exercise. She also said getting plenty of rest and eating a healthy diet are key, along with taking time to talk to your friends and family, because they are likely going through many of the same things you are.

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