No, you can’t disinfect the inside of your body by drinking alcohol

Illustration for article titled No, you can’t disinfect the inside of your body by drinking alcohol
Photo: Danita Delimont (Getty Images)

The World Health Organization’s broad mission is to advocate for health and healthcare across the world, and a big part of their daily messaging is providing granular tips for healthy living. According to CNN, the WHO’s latest missive is a reminder that alcohol is bad for you, and that you can’t actually kill the coronavirus lurking inside of you by hosing down your insides with sweet, sweet ethanol. Who knew?

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While the six-page fact sheet contains a slew of information you probably don’t want to hear while you play your 12th consecutive hour of Animal Crossing and season your cans of White Claw with your tears, the section labeled “General myths about alcohol and COVID-19” is nothing short of fascinating. According to the WHO, the following myths have gained enough traction that they require active debunking:

1) “Consuming alcohol destroys the virus that causes COVID-19.”

2) “Drinking strong alcohol kills the virus in the inhaled air.”

3) “Alcohol (beer, wine, distilled spirits or herbal alcohol) stimulates immunity and resistance to the virus.”

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Beyond the fact that it should be painfully obvious you can’t just sanitize the virus out of your mouth like one of Immortan Joe’s War Boys preparing to enter Valhalla, the WHO document also stresses that any volume of alcohol is not only bad for you but will actively suppress your immune system, and that you should “Avoid alcohol altogether so that you do not undermine your own immune system and health and do not risk the health of others.”

Given the state of the world right now, that’s a big ask, and the annoying advice will likely fall on deaf ears. But, as buzz-killing as it literally is, the WHO might have a point, and it never hurts to be reminded that alcohol will not protect you from COVID-19.

Jacob Dean is a food and travel writer and psychologist based in New York. He likes beer, less traveled airports, and is allergic to grasshoppers (the insect, not the mixed drink.)

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DISCUSSION

Avoid alcohol altogether

This seems like the advise of a sadist.