May 30, 2023

Binge drinking, night shift work doubled risk of COVID-19 infection in nurses during pandemic

Editor's Note

This study led by researchers at Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, finds that working the night shift or binge drinking doubled the risk of COVID-19 infection in nurses during the pandemic.

The analysis included survey answers of 750 nurses who were members of the American Nurses Association. The data were collected during the COVID-19 pandemic, when unhealthy alcohol use, including binge drinking, increased overall.

Among the findings:

  • 25% of respondents met the criteria for alcohol misuse.
  • 5% of respondents were binge drinkers.
  • High risk features of alcohol misuse were associated with later chronotype (ie, “night owl”) compared with early chronotype (ie, “morning person”).
  • Binge drinking was greater in night shift workers.
  • Binge drinkers had twice the odds of COVID-19 infection than those with low-risk features.
  • The night shift was associated with more than double the odds of COVID-19 infection than the standard shift.

The findings support further study of key mechanisms that relate to increased susceptibility of COVID-19 infections with alcohol and circadian misalignment to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 infection on frontline healthcare workers, the researchers say.


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