As we enter week seven of the COVID-19 lockdown, Pamela Milliken, Head of Primary Care at East Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership, offers some timely advice on the risks associated with increased alcohol consumption at this time.
“This is a stressful and unprecedented time and in times of stress we may find ourselves drinking more often or more heavily. Our general advice for men and women is not to drink more than 14 units of alcohol in a week. But at the moment, many of our daily routines have changed which might make it harder to keep on top of how much we are drinking.
“While we are isolating at home it is important to remember the negative impacts alcohol can have. These include poorer sleep, increased feeling of stress, anxiety and depression and a lowered immune system. Alcohol also affects us more as we age and is a factor in 60% of falls. In older adults too much alcohol can lead to balance problems and falls, resulting in fractures and other injuries.
“If you do drink, it is best to spread your alcohol intake evenly across the week rather than drinking it all at once and try to have several alcohol-free days a week.”
• Alcohol will not protect you against COVID-19
• Drinking high strength alcohol will NOT prevent or cure COVID-19
• Fear and anxiety are common during the pandemic
• Alcohol will only make these worse
• Drinking alcohol during home isolation increases the risk of violence and injury
• The risk of damage to your health increases with each drink consumed
Coping with COVID-19
• Protect your health and those around you by not consuming alcohol
• Be a role model for your children, don’t drink around them
• Protect children and young people by making sure they don’t have access to alcohol.
Pamela advises: “If alcohol is becoming an issue during this pandemic, please seek assistance at the earliest opportunity. Our Better Health Hub is providing a telephone service on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 10am to 4pm and on Thursday from 10am to 12noon.
“This service provides individual support for people who are concerned about their ability to stay healthy during this outbreak.”
Contact: 0758 417 4428. If you have worries about mobile phone charges, they will call you back, or send a text message and they will get in touch. Alternatively email: AAUHB.BetterHealthHub. nhs.net.
Other useful contacts:
Ayrshire Council on Alcohol (ACA): 01292 281238
Drinkline: 0300 1231110
There are many support services available during this pandemic.