Alcohol Safety During the Summer

Published: May 31st, 2012

Category: Student Health Care Center Blog

Sun and Clouds Viewed from UnderwaterNational Safety Month is observed during the month of June which is right around the corner. With the summer starting to heat up let’s talk a little about avoiding summer heat illness when drinking alcohol. Living in Florida we are used to those high summer temperatures and know that it is important to stay hydrated and rest in shaded areas.

When the temperatures rise, we are at risk for heat-related illness. One thing you might not be aware of is that alcohol and caffeine can contribute and increase your risk of dehydration and heat exhaustion. The reason is that both alcohol and caffeine are diuretics and increase your dehydration if you consume them together or in high amounts without hydrating yourself. It is better to drink water or sports drinks such as Gatorade instead of energy drinks and alcohol. Spending a day out in the sun at the pool or beach and drinking with your friends will increase your risk even more because the sun also dehydrates you. So if you are going to be drinking in the sun then it is important to drink water before, during and after to keep adequately hydrated.

Drinking alcohol in the heat can also impact your judgment. The more you drink, the more impaired your thinking gets. This is dangerous in the hot summer months because you might not recognize when you are getting the symptoms of heat exhaustion or dehydration and you won’t be able to decide when you should stop and drink some water. People who have chronic health conditions pose an additional risk when consuming alcohol in the heat.

Additional Risks

                Florida is a popular tourist destination during the summer and traffic increases especially around beach towns making it a dangerous time for car and boat crashes. As with any other time of the year do not drink and drive, if you plan on drinking then designate a sober driver. As for being out on a boat, alcohol is the leading contributor in boating deaths. It is best to not allow alcohol on board and if you do then again designate a sober driver.