Drinking alcohol during a heatwave can increase risks

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Following Met Éireann’s latest weather warning, we are urging people to stay safe if consuming alcohol during the heatwave. Throughout long stretches of high temperatures, the change in mood and increased opportunities to socialise can lead to more alcohol being consumed over prolonged periods and a higher risk of experiencing harms as a result. While everyone should make the most of the nice weather, Here is our advice to keep in mind if you are drinking alcohol during the heatwave.

Drink plenty of water

Alcohol is a diuretic and so, drinking too much can lead to dehydration because the alcohol makes your kidney produce more urine. With the sun set to stick around for the next week, don’t forget to stay hydrated by alternating each alcoholic drink with water. Why not keep a jug of water on the table to make this easier to remember?

Keep track

Are you drinking within the HSE low-risk guidelines for alcohol consumption? Less than 3% of Irish adults can correctly identify the guidelines but they are important to know and can help you to see how much you are really drinking over the week. Remember, these are guidelines - not a target.

  • Women: up to 11 standard drinks (110g pure alcohol) spread out over the week, with at least two alcohol-free days
  • Men: up to 17 standard drinks (170g pure alcohol) spread out over the week, with at least two alcohol-free days

Avoid swimming

Alcohol and swimming do not mix. In fact, according to Irish Water Safety (IWS), alcohol is a factor in over 30% of all drownings in Ireland. Alcohol affects your perception of danger, making you more likely to take unnecessary risks. Alcohol also impairs your balance and coordination - all essential for swimming and boating and avoiding hazards in the water. Never swim if you have consumed alcohol and be vigilant around open waters.

Drinking at home? Use a measure

Having a drink in the garden may seem like a great way to relax in the sunshine but drinking at home can often lead to drinking more than you intended in a short space of time. Order our free Get the Facts Pack, which includes a Standard Drink Measure Cup to help you pour accurate measures and make it easier to keep track of how much you are really drinking.

Never drink and drive

1 in 10 arrests for driving under the influence are made between 8am and 2pm. The time of your last drink at night will affect when it is safe for you to drive the following day so there could still be alcohol in your system the morning after drinking. On average, it takes one hour for the body to process one standard drink and there's no quick fix - only time. Common examples of one standard drink are a half pint of lager/stout/cider, a 100ml glass of wine or pub measure (35.5ml) of spirits. If you plan to have after-work drinks in the sun, leave the car at home.