Your Student Life: Think Twice Before Pouring Yourself a "Quarantini."

April 4, 2021

Virtual classes, mandatory student COVID testing, masks, and hand sanitizing are strong efforts in the fight against COVID-19, but students must also consider their individual drinking habits at home and among peers. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) have published information to the public suggesting the avoidance of excessive drinking as it may be associated with higher severity and contraction rates of COVID-19.  

According to the NIAAA, “alcohol in the body at the time of exposure to a pathogen tends to impair the body’s immediate immune response to the pathogen making it easier for an infection to develop.” Furthermore, long-term alcohol misuse leads to impairment of immune cells that line the respiratory tract allowing SARS-CoV-2 virus particles easier admittance into the lungs as well as increased probability of developing Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), where fluid collects in the lungs. COVID-19 contraction occurring for those diagnosed with ARDS is associated with a need for mechanical ventilation, extended stays in the ICU and higher risks of death. Research from Yale Medicine also suggests that heavy social drinking and binge drinking causes changes within cytokines (proteins that carry out the immune response) and function suppression of bone marrow, which produces disease fighting white blood cells.  

Students must watch their drinking habits as it not only affects the body’s immune response if COVID-19 contraction occurs, but also increases affects student ability to follow COVID-19 state and public health protocols. Alcohol reduces the functioning of information processing within the brain by decreasing activity in the prefrontal cortex (responsible for executive decision making) and increasing norepinephrine levels (stimulating neurotransmitter). These effects lead to decreased inhibition and increased impulsivity, which may prevent the strict and necessary following of COVID-19 public health protocols. Students are thus, more at risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19 if they are unable to follow prevention protocols of not gathering in large groups of more than 10 people, maintaining social distance of 6 feet, and wearing masks.  

Please visit for more information on Ohio State’s response to COVID-19.

Looking to explore your alcohol use more? Learn more about the free resources provided by the Student Wellness Center. Group services, 1on1 coaching, and digital platforms to fit your needs:


Alcohol Education Wellness Ambassadors
Student Wellness Center
Office of Student Life