One More Reason Teens Shouldn’t Binge Drink

Sometimes parents’ most dire warnings fall on deaf teen ears. While it’s true that many young people who binge drink suffer from alcohol poisoning—and some even die—these facts do not always deter them from trying it. That’s because teens have an incredible sense of immortality. What they think is, “But that’ll never happen to me!” However irrational, this mindset prevents them from taking seriously—and taking to heart—their parents’ scariest admonitions.

So maybe this new research will sink in better. A study done at Loyola University Health Systems found that binge drinking significantly disrupted the immune systems of healthy young adults. Depending upon how much they weighed, participants drank four or five shots of vodka over a two hour period. Blood samples at peak intoxication showed an increase in immune activity, but two hours and five hours afterward, their immune systems showed significantly less activity than when they were sober.

What this means is that binge drinking can make teens far more susceptible to getting colds, flus, stomach viruses, and any other bugs going around their schools. Middle school and high school students usually dread getting sick. For one, they fear the piles of work, tests, and quizzes they have to make up after being absent, which they find highly stressful. Two, their FOMO (in teen speak, Fear of Missing Out) makes them anxious to have to miss social events and parties, wary of  being out of the loop, and uncomfortable when they recover and return to school. These realities are easier for them to relate to.

Ironically, avoiding the common cold may actually be a more persuasive reason not to binge drink than avoiding alcohol poisoning.

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