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This summer, think before you drink

July 10, 2017

Nothing says summer fun like an outdoor party by the pool or fire pit.  But if you decide to drink alcohol during these steamy days, take precaution. Nearly one-third of motor-vehicle deaths are related to alcohol impairment, according to the CDC.

When it’s hot outside, our bodies become dehydrated more quickly. Drinking alcohol while dehydrated leads to a higher blood alcohol concentration. Studies also show that a higher blood alcohol concentration leads to a greater risk of injury from a traffic accident, and the injuries will be more significant too.  

While each person’s tolerance for alcohol is different, Ron Kanwischer, SIU addiction therapist and psychotherapist, says serious medical consequences can occur for those who overindulge. “Alcohol is a drug that has the potential to affect almost every organ in the body,” Kanwischer says. “Long-term heavy alcohol use can cause health conditions such as cancer and liver failure.” 

Kanwisher offers these tips to stay safe:

  • Before the event, decide who will be the designated driver.
  • Ask your friends for their keys if you feel that they are too impaired to drive or offer them a ride if you have a designated driver.
  • If you host a party, have plenty of food available, offer non-alcoholic drinks and water.
  • Call a taxi if you’re unsure of your/your driver’s ability to drive safely. If you are hosting, have a cab company’s number readily available.

If you have a drinking problem, see your mental health or primary care provider. To schedule an appointment with one of SIU’s primary care physicians or psychologists, call 545-8000.