Summer time is known for fun in the sun and good times with friends and family. Many people end up celebrating summer with drinks and food and lots of time outdoors. A cold drink on a hot day is as refreshing as it gets, as long as you are picking up the right drink. However, may people reach for alcoholic drinks during their summer celebrations and this can quickly lead to a lot of serious health related problems. Sun and alcohol both affect the human body in very similar ways so it is easy to see how a mixture of the two can become dangerous cocktail. Unfortunately, many people end up hospitalized and some will die every year because of their consumption of alcohol while being out in the summer heat too long. Here are some of the reasons why you need to limit your drinking and practice control and moderation when celebrating this season:
5 Risks of Drinking Alcohol in the Summer Sun
- Heat Stroke: With high temperatures comes the risk of the body failing to cool itself and regulate its own temperature correctly. The body can only tolerate temperatures of a certain level and when they get too high it can lead to major problems with systems throughout the body. Heat of course raises the body temperature and can quickly lead to a spike in internal body temperatures. Add alcohol into the mix, and heat illness can come on even faster than normal. Alcohol depresses your hypothalmus, the gland that controls body temperature. This means that if you drink alcohol in a hot environment, you’ll likely get hotter. And you don’t have to drink much to run into problems.
- Dehydration: Both alcohol and being out in the heat of the sun can cause dehydration. Alcohol makes you lose moisture from the body and the heat from the sun will of course make you sweat as well. If you are drinking in the hot sun, you may be losing fluids twice as quickly as you would normally. When it comes to day-drinking, dehydration is probably the biggest thing to watch out for. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it makes you urinate enough to affect your fluid balance. When you add sweating to that equation, dehydration really can sneak up on you, causing dizziness, headache, and a bigger risk for overheating.
- Boating Accidents: More than a third of all boating fatalities in the summer involve alcohol consumption of some kind and alcohol use is thought to be a key factor in more than half of all summer time deaths among teens and young adults. Sadly, people lose their ability to judge accurately or handle large machinery the more they drink. “In order to ensure fun on the water, it is the operator’s responsibility to ensure the safety of everyone on board. The operator of any given vessel must not only be sober and of sound mind, they must be able to operate in an environment free from added distraction. A boat full of drunk people is dangerous, even if the boat’s driver has had nothing to drink”.
- Drowning: If you are drinking in or near water, it is a dangerous idea to drink a lot of alcohol. Whether you are boating, swimming, or camping near water, alcohol consumption puts you at a higher risk for accident or injury to occur. Drowning is much more likely when you are drink or impaired in any way by alcohol. Alcohol impairs judgment and increases risk-taking, which is a dangerous combination for swimmers. Even more experienced swimmers may go out further than they should and not be able to make it back to shore. Surfers could become over-confident and try to ride a wave beyond their abilities. Even around a pool, too much alcohol can have deadly consequences.
- Car Accidents: Many people, especially young adults and recent graduates tend to take fun road trips with their friends over the summer. The temptation to drink and drive will be high but it is something you cannot do under any circumstances! Don’t let drunk friends drive home- give them a ride, let them spend the night with you, or call them a cab. Keep them off the roads! Every day, 29 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This is one death every 50 minutes. The annual cost of alcohol-related crashes totals more than $44 billion. In 2016, 10,497 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for 28% of all traffic-related death.
Summer time can be a time of great fun and memories and good times with friends and family. And it is ok to celebrate and have some fun, even if that includes a few drinks now and then as you enjoy the beach or other activities with your friends. The key is to be smart about when and how you drink. Stay hydrated, don’t overdo it on the alcohol, keep an eye out for your friends, and be smart while you are out having a good time. Do this and you will have a summer vacation that is sure to be one everyone will remember with fondness. You cannot underestimate the deviating power alcohol and summer heat have when they are combined. So, protect yourself from both and be smart as you celebrate summer time and you and your friend can have a good time and make it back from your celebrations healthy and alive.