Summer is a great time to enjoy outdoor activities and spend more time with friends and family. Some people include alcohol consumption. Take steps to safeguard your health and the health of your family members this summer from dangerous drinking.
Swimmers can get in over their heads
Swimming is dangerous because alcohol can impair judgment and increase risk-taking. Even the most experienced swimmers might go further than they should, and may not make it back to shore. Or they might not realize how cold they are getting and become hypothermic. Overconfident surfers may try to ride waves beyond their capabilities. Alcohol can even have fatal consequences around a pool. Divers who are intoxicated may cause accidents with their boards or dive too shallow.
Boaters can lose their bearings
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, alcohol consumption is responsible for 18% of all boating fatalities. Boat operators with a blood alcohol content (BAC) above 0.08 percent are 14 times more likely than those who have no alcohol in their systems. A 0.08 percent BAC would mean that an average-sized woman (177 lbs) can consume 4 drinks within 2 hours and a man (198 lbs), 5 drinks in just 2 hours. Note that alcohol consumption can lead to a fatal accident. An average-sized woman would need to consume 4 drinks in 2 hours (171 lbs) and 5 drinks for a man of average size (198 lbs) to reach a 0.08 percent BAC. You may also feel more fatigued and more susceptible to cold-water immersion. Intoxicated boaters may not be able to quickly respond to problems and find solutions. Intoxication can cause slips, falls, and accidents on the dock for passengers.
Drivers can go off-course
Summer holidays can be dangerous. Drivers may travel an unfamiliar route, or transport a boat or camper. Children and pets can be distracted by the vehicle. The driver’s life and the lives of everyone else in the car are at risk.
There is a risk of dehydration
Heat and alcohol can lead to problems, no matter if you are on the road or out in the great outdoors. In the summer heat, fluid loss occurs through sweating and alcohol can cause fluid loss through increased urine. They can both quickly lead to heatstroke or dehydration.
Protect your skin
Summer vacations can be ruined by sunburns. Drinking alcohol and spending time in the sun makes it less likely that you will use sunscreen. Laboratory research shows that alcohol reduces the sun exposure required to cause burns. All this is bad news for skin cancer risk. Sunburns can be repeated, increasing the likelihood of developing it. To maximize summer fun, drink or not, make sure you apply sunscreen!
Stay safe and healthy
This summer, be smart. Think before you drink. You and your loved ones can stay safe by not drinking alcohol while you are driving a car, piloting a boat, or exploring the wilderness.
Be sure to serve alcohol responsibly:
- Offer a wide range of healthy snacks and foods.
- Designated drivers and taxis will help your guests return home safely.
If you’re a parent, make sure to understand the laws regarding underage drinking and set an example.