5 sun safety tips

It looks like the sun has finally removed its hat and has graced us with some glorious sunshine! Finally!

As the weather warms up, it’s natural for people to rush out to get their annual dose of vitamin D, but sometimes caution is thrown to the wind. Whilst a cold alcohol beverage is appealing to some on a hot day, it’s estimated that nearly 3 in 10 of UK adults drink more alcohol when the weather gets warmer*. If you are drinking alcohol while enjoying the weather, we want you to stay safe.

Here are 5 tips from Drink Aware to stay safe in the sun:

1. Drink within the limits

A survey from Opinium Research revealed that when the mercury rises we drink an extra 333 million pints of beer and 67 million more litres of wine**

The summer evenings are lighter, there are more events such as weddings or festivals and getting together with friends or family is more likely to be suggested.

You can check exactly how many units you’re drinking and easily record your drinks on the go using the free Drinkaware: Track & Calculate Units app.


2. Drink plenty of water

Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it encourages the kidneys to lose extra fluid. That is why you go to the toilet much more when you drink alcohol. For every 1g of alcohol you drink, urine excretion increases by 10ml.

Alcohol can also have the effect of making you sweat more. The combination of sweating more in the heat and going to the toilet more regularly means you could lose more fluid than you take in and become dehydrated.

Dehydration can cause headaches, dizziness, sickness, tiredness or heat exhaustion. In extreme cases severe dehydration due to alcohol poisoning can cause brain damage. It is also one of the main causes of a hangover.

A tip is to drink plenty of water or soft drinks in between alcoholic drinks to try to prevent dehydration.

3. Don’t drink and drive

If you’re drinking alcohol, avoid it too close to bedtime. On average it takes an hour to process one unit, but this can vary widely from one person to another.

Just because you’ve been to sleep, it doesn’t mean you’re not affected by alcohol. You could still be over the limit the morning after drinking.

4. Avoid swimming

The Drowning Prevention Charity, RLSS UK state that about a quarter or all adult drowning victims have alcohol in their bloodstream***

While going for a swim may seem like a good idea to cool off on a hot day, please don’t enter the water if you’ve been drinking.

Alcohol can work on the brain to lower inhibitions which can impair your judgement making you more likely to take risks.

Alcohol slows down your reactions making it more difficult to get yourself out of trouble. It also numbs the senses, particularly sight, sound and touch making swimming difficult.

The RLSS UK also urge people not to walk home near water after a night out as alcohol can affect your co-ordination which could make you more likely to fall in.

5. Enjoy an alcohol-free mocktail

Finally, you can enjoy a deliciously refreshing drink to quench your thirst on a hot summer’s day that’s completely alcohol-free.

If you’re drinking out many bars and restaurants now sell a range of ‘virgin’ or alcohol-free drinks. If you’re having a drink at home take a look at mocktails made easy step-by-step instructional videos.

References

*Opinium Research carried out an online survey of 2,024 people aged 18+, of which 553 drink more in the warmer months, from 23rd March to 26th March 2012. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria.

**Opinium Research

*** RLSS Website. Don’t Drink and Drown. Available at:

http://www.rlss.org.uk/dont-drink-and-drown/

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