This summer is one of the hottest on record. With the scorching heat, reaching for a pina colada or your favorite beer is a great way to feel cool. However, drinking a lot of alcohol while you’re out enjoying the sun is a quick way to have things go bad, and fast.
That’s not to say you can’t enjoy some cool, refreshing adult beverages this summer. It’s just a matter of being smart about when, where and how much you drink. Follow these tips to make sure your summer isn’t hindered by a trip to the emergency room — or worse.
Beer, Water, Beer, Water
When you are outside, even in your backyard, you will sweat. And with the sweltering heat around the
country, you will likely sweat a lot. It’s vital you keep yourself hydrated. While alcoholic drinks may seem like a tasty, fun way to do so, you have to be careful about it. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it will make you urinate more. Between sweating and urinating, your body will quickly lose the water it needs to operate.
A good rule of thumb is to have at least one glass of water in between every alcoholic drink. Not only will this replenish your body’s fluids, it will also help you pace yourself, allowing you to enjoy more drinks over a longer period of time. You can also throw a sports drink in the rotation to make sure you also replace the electrolytes you are losing. Though the old saying of “beer before liquor, never been sicker” has been debunked, drinking too much alcohol at once will make you sick. Taking it slow can lead to much more fun evening.
If you are drinking in the heat, it’s crucial you watch for signs of dehydration. The most obvious and common signs are a dry mouth and being thirsty. You may also start to urinate less, and feel sleepy or tired. If you go too long without water, you may even feel dizzy and faint. If you start feeling these symptoms, get to a cool area (preferably air-conditioned) and be sure to take in water.
Steer Clear of Water
If you are like most people, you probably make some risky or downright stupid decisions when you’ve had one too many drinks. Going swimming after you’ve been drinking can be one such choice — and one that can end your life. If you’ve been drinking, stay away from the water. Your body will not be operating at optimal levels, and you could soon find yourself drowning. If you’re in an ocean or lake, you may find yourself going out much farther than you normally would, leaving you susceptible to exhaustion. If you feel the need to get in the water, stick with the shallow end of a pool.
Boating and drinking is also a major issue. Legally, you can operate a boat or vessel with a blood alcohol content of 0.10 in Pennsylvania and many other states. However, for most people, impairment begins long before this level of intoxication. Someone with a 0.10 BAC is 16 times more likely to be in a boating accident than a completely sober operator. In fact, 60 percent of all boating accidents involve alcohol. Even if you aren’t operating the boat, being intoxicating on the deck can lead to falling overboard, as well as other accidents. If you feel unsteady on land, you will definitely feel worse on the water.
Have a Plan Before You Drink
Where’s your favorite place to drink during the summer months? Chances are, it’s somewhere with friends and family. This could be at your own home, at a friend’s house or at a bar or club. If you are going somewhere to enjoy a pina colada, know how you’re getting home — and it shouldn’t include driving. Plan to stay at a friend’s house, designate a driver, get a taxi or call an Uber. If you are havingothers over to your own home, make sure they have a plan as well. Have plenty of blankets and plenty of sleeping places if they want to stay.
Drinking and driving can have devastating effects long after the summer months end. If you are caught intoxicated behind the wheel, it could mean jail time, fines, attorney fees and many other consequences. It can be even worse if you cause a wreck. You could spend the rest of your life dealing with the guilt of injuring or even killing another driver. Before you get behind the wheel, ask yourself: “Is risking my life and the lives of those around me worth saving $20 on a ride home?”
When it comes down to it, summer drinking is only fun if it is in a safe environment. Make sure you protect yourself and those around you by knowing your limits and not putting your life in danger by making dumb decisions, no matter how great they may sound at the time.