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Health Ministry Warns Against the Use and Misuse of Alcohol During COVID-19 Pandemic

The Ministry of Health and Wellness is warning Saint Lucians about alcohol describing it as a harmful substance that has an adverse effect on one’s general health.

The misuse and abuse of substances, including alcohol, will negatively impact the individual,

family and by extension, the community in the face of this pandemic. As such the use of alcohol as a coping mechanism is discouraged. The misuse and abuse of alcohol can impact one’s mental health, leading to violent, anti-social behavior, and suicidal thoughts. In the

face  of the current pandemic, alcohol will weaken one’s immunity, thus reducing one’s ability to respond adequately and cope with infectious diseases, including COVID -19,” noted the Ministry in a statement yesterday.

The Ministry then went on to list Myths and Facts about alcohol use:

  1. Myth: Alcohol is a throat sanitizer.

Fact: Alcohol-based sanitizers are effective for the sanitization of hands and surfaces.

  1. Myth: Alcohol gives immunity against COVID-19

Fact: Alcohol will increase the risk of other infectious and respiratory diseases like

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD), tuberculosis, and pneumonia.

  1. Myth: Alcohol stimulates the immune system.

Fact: Alcohol weakens the immune system and worsens underlying physical and mental health problems.

  1. Myth: Alcohol on one’s breath kills the virus in the air.

Fact: It is impossible for alcohol on one’s breath to kill the COVID-19 virus.

Coping tips during the pandemic           

  1. Follow all protocols set up by the state within the workplaces, home, and  community at large.
  2. If you have a family member or friend dependent on alcohol and you notice alcohol withdrawal symptoms, please seek medical assistance, call a family doctor or visit your nearest Wellness Centre.
  3. Develop or be a support to those who are unable to cope with alcohol and other substance.
  4. If you are struggling to stay without alcohol, call the national helpline #203, for support.
  5. Do not use alcohol as a means of coping with domestic challenges and other stresses.
  6. Do not use alcohol while taking prescribed medication.
  7. Children should not be exposed to alcohol nor consume it.

During this unprecedented time, it is essential to know that alcohol will not serve as immunity against COVID -19, nor should it be used as a coping mechanism. Moreover, it will only deepen the feelings of despair, anxiety, and confusion.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness encourages the public to be cautious and vigilant during this time and to work towards minimizing contracting COVID -19 by observing the necessary protocols and being mindful of the impact of alcohol use and misuse.

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