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Be aware of alcohol consumption while confined at home

While these are times that could drive a person to drink, experts advise to resist the urge.

As Michiganders hunker down with stay-at-home orders amid the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, the Michigan Liquor Control Commission counsels moderation in drinking as it recognizes April as Alcohol Awareness Month.

“During this time of coronavirus, be careful of excessive drinking because it can compromise a person’s immune system,” MLCC Chair Pat Gagliardi said. “Moderation is important. Don’t underestimate how much you have actually been drinking.”

Recent reports show a rapid rise in alcohol consumption. Nationally, sales of alcoholic beverages spiked 55 percent in the week ending March 21, compared with the same period last year. Sales of spirits such as tequila, gin and pre-mixed cocktails jumped 75 percent compared with the same dates in 2019. Beer purchases were up by 66 percent; wine, up 42 percent year-on-year, according to the Nielsen Market Research Firm.

The MLCC offers these tips for alcohol awareness:

— Know that alcohol products are increasingly more potent, such as consumer favorites of hard liquors, including tequila and gin;

— Know what a standard “drink” is: 12 ounces of beer (5% alcohol content), 5 ounces of wine (12% alcohol content) or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits or liquor (40% alcohol content);

— Know consumption guidelines for healthy adults: one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, up to two drinks a day for men younger than 65;

— Don’t binge drink: For women, it’s those who drink more than four drinks in an outing and men who drink more than five;

— Know that heavy drinking can lead to chronic diseases — such as problems with liver, throat, larynx and esophagus — as well as high blood pressure, pancreatitis, psychological problems and the risk of becoming an alcoholic;

–Never drink while pregnant.

While quarantined at home, to enjoy drinking alcohol in moderation:

— Set limits on how much you’re drinking;

— Don’t relax your rules — stick with your usual limits on alcohol;

— Consider low- or no-alcohol drinks;

— Limit sugary cocktails that can affect the immune system, especially if you already have underlying health conditions.

Gagliardi also encourages parents to talk to their children about the risks of underage drinking. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, excessive drinking is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths among underage youth each year and can lead to early addiction, among other dangerous outcomes. Studies show parents are the leading influencers of their children’s decisions on whether or not to drink.

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