Personal Safety When Drinking Alcohol
Red wine makes us live longer… a pint of beer improves your sight… beer before wine and you’ll be fine… there are plenty of factoids and myths about the powers of alcohol. But overstep the limits and you’re at risk of serious illness brain damage, and even cancer. How can you reduce your risk? And how much is too much, anyway?
Safe DrinkingDrinking alcohol isn’t all bad: drink the right tipple at the right rate, and you can actually improve your health! Did you know, for instance:
- Low to moderate intake (1-3 units per day) improves your resistance to coronary disease
- One to three drinks a day is said to reduce your risk of mental health problems such as dementia or Alzheimer’s (Erasmus University Medical School, 2002)
- One small glass of red wine per day can reduce a woman’s stroke risk by up to 50% (A.Malarcher, 2001)
- Red wine from France and Sardinia, rich in procyanidins, has been linked to longer lifespans (R.Corder, 2006)
- Ale and stout contains antioxidants which have been shown to reduce the risk of cataracts (consumed at the rate of one unit per day) (J.Trevithick, 2000).
It’s recommended that men drink no more than three or four units per day, and for women only two to three are advised. Here’s a quick guide to the unit ratings of your favourite drinks:
- 1 pint beer (5% vol): 3 units
- 1 pint lager (3% vol): 2 units
- 1 small glass wine (12% vol): 2 units
- 1 measure spirit (40% vol): 1 unit
Alcohol PoisoningThe effects of alcohol are biphasic, which means that they occur in identifiable phases. The first, of course, is relaxation and loss of inhibition; this can be followed by dehydration, nausea, headaches, and – in some cases – even worse symptoms. Watch out for the symptoms of serious alcohol poisoning:
- Passing out.
- Difficulty breathing.
- Throwing up.
- Skin cold and blue, particularly beneath fingernails.