Sat | Apr 21, 2018

Responsible drinking tips for the holidays - Pt 2

Published:Wednesday | December 20, 2017 | 12:03 AMKimesha Walters
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This week, occupational health advisor at Red Stripe Veronica Benain offers more tips on ways to enjoy the festive season, while strategically managing alcohol consumption at the same time.

WHILE IMBIBING

- Pay Attention to AV

Drinks have different alcohol content, so it's important to read the labels. "Those with higher alcohol volumes act faster. Persons may say, 'Oh, but I only had one drink', but you're not taking in the same alcohol volume," asserts Benain, who points out that a beer may have less than four per cent alcohol volume, while spirits can have up to 43 per cent.

- Mixing Matters - Avoid Concoctions

From time to time, Benain says when she is out at parties she enjoys a cold Heineken or the occasional cocktail. "But I'm careful not to mix them," she states, adding that party goers should also stay away from mixing alcohol with energy drinks and mixing products that have very high alcohol content. "The alcohol volumes are often different and the drinks are going through an organ (the liver) that needs to process them to remove the toxins. When this organ is put under too much pressure and cannot function properly, then you'll also find that you run into health problems later on," says Benain.

- Pace Your Drinks and Drink Water

Eat between drinks or have water, soup or some other non-alcohol beverage between drinks. This will slow down the rate at which your body absorbs alcohol and may even result in your consuming fewer drinks. Alcohol dehydrates the body and, in the hot Jamaican climate, you may naturally lose water by sweating, especially if you are on the dance floor. Benain says, "Drink lots of water to make sure your system is flushed and to help the liver absorb alcohol better. If you're not putting back the amount of water that you're losing, then you will lose electrolytes and you'll have an imbalance."

Benain also recommends that you avoid topping up your drinks since you will not be able to monitor exactly how much you have had for the night.

- Extra Caution at Beach Parties

For the beach parties in the hot sun, the issue of dehydration should be top of mind. What can be even more dangerous is when partygoers decide to go into the water after they have been drinking. Benain says this is definite no-no. "Persons can get into difficulty in the water and then life-threatening issues may arise," she notes.

SO YOU'RE DRUNK ... WHAT NOW?

Against your better judgement, you've a few too many and you're either drunk or feel you're almost there. Benain says there is a strategy to manage yourself and get home safely.

"Firstly, stop drinking. If you can get water to drink and if you can manage to eat, have something to eat. Sit for a minute. I would hope that you are out with somebody who had been assigned to be the designated driver, someone who had no alcohol for the evening. If that is the case, you're home free. If you don't have a designated driver, it's time to call a cab. Whatever you do, under no circumstances should you get behind the wheel of a car," she stresses.

Benain points to the Drink Right mobile app, which has a feature that allows you to call a cab with one click. "It also helps you calculate the amount of alcohol in your drinks so you can monitor your consumption," she states.

yourhealth@gleanerjm.com