Alcohol kills germs, right? It seems logical that having a few drinks might help ward off the coronavirus. But while downing those margaritas (or Corona beers) might make staying home a little more bearable, alcoholic drinks won’t kill COVID-19.
The kind of alcohol found in drinks is called ethyl alcohol, and it’s the same kind of alcohol found in some hand sanitizers. Most of the rest use isopropyl, or rubbing alcohol. Ethyl alcohol does kill germs outside your body, but when you drink it, your digestive process breaks it down so that it can no longer kill bacteria. That’s part of the job of your digestive system, to kill anything that might threaten your body or the “good” bacteria in your gut.
If you drink too much ethyl alcohol, though, your body will be overwhelmed and won’t be able to protect against alcohol’s toxic effects. Overdrinking can cause damage well beyond that hangover headache and tossing a few times. You can irritate the lining of your gut, damage your liver to the point of cirrhosis (which can be fatal) and destroy your brain tissue.
Drinking the other types of alcohol, isopropyl and methyl (methanol, found in fuels and solvents) can kill you—and much more quickly than the years of alcohol abuse you’d need to die of cirrhosis.
So, if you want, drink a toast (or two) to ethyl alcohol for helping you relax, but don’t expect it to help against COVID-19.
Disclaimer: This article does not provide medical advice. Do not take action based solely on this article and always consult with an appropriate healthcare professional. This article is purely for informational purposes.