A new study shows that binge drinking results in immune system impairment for young adults, and is just one more reason why this type of activity should be avoided at all costs. Binge drinking is drinking 4-5 shots or an equivalent amount of beer or wine in a two hour period. This level is enough to reach the legal limit of intoxication based on a blood alcohol level of .08. Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine researcher Majid Afshar, M.D., M.S.C.R. Performed the study using volunteers. Participants drank between 4 and 5 shots of vodka, and their blood and immune system function was analyzed after 30 minutes, two hours, and five hours. After 20 minutes the immune system of the volunteers actually increased, but this was not true at the two and five hour marks. At these later points the young adults showed immune system impairment.
Many young adults engage in binge drinking 4 times a month on average, and this can cause considerable immune system impairment. This activity greatly increases the risk of many types of traumatic injuries including falls, vehicle accidents and automobile collisions, burns, and even gunshot wounds and stab wounds. One in three people who go to the emergency room have some level of alcohol in their system. The immune system impairment caused by binge drinking makes it harder for any injuries to heal, and binge drinkers have a higher risk for infection and pneumonia as well. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism helped to fund the study.