In this beautiful country we call home the festive season coincides with our summer months – where many big events might be planned, with family, friends and work colleagues.
All the parties and get-togethers can mean that we are surrounded by food and alcohol - so it's good to be aware of the amount we are drinking to ensure we can recall the good times that were had!
Here are some suggestions to help you stay merry and not messy:
- Don't drink alcohol before you go out – there is evidence to show that 'pre-loading' can increase your risk of accident or injury.
- Set a limit beforehand and stick to it! – It's also OK not to drink, in fact more and more people are choosing not to. There are great non-alcohol alternatives.
Mocktails are a great alternative to alcoholic drinks for designated drivers, pregnant women (considering getting pregnant), young people or anyone wanting to reduce their alcohol intake or avoid alcohol all together.
The State Library of NSW have come up with a range of literary inspired mocktail recipes. Discover more about these delicious thirst-quenching concoctions.
- Don't drink and drive! - Alcohol impacts your ability to drive safely. Make a plan for someone to pick you up or have a designated non-drinking driver, catch public transport or order a taxi or ride-share to get you home safely.
- Avoid taking other drugs - Mixing alcohol and drugs can increase your risk of harmful side effects and make you feel even worse the next day. If you're taking prescription medications, check with your doctor if you're able to drink alcohol while taking them.
- Most of all just have fun – show everyone you don't need a drink to have a good time!
Summertime can also mean more time spent outdoors and it's easy to forget to be sun safe, so here are some reminders on how to protect your skin from the suns UV rays:
- Slip on protective clothing
- Slop on SPF 50 sunscreen every two hours
- Slap on a wide-brimmed hat
- Seek shade through-out the day
- Slide on sunnies
With competing health messages out there, it can be difficult to know what advice to follow regarding your intake of alcohol and how to reduce associated health risks.
The most reliable source of advice, developed by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) are outlined in the 'Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol', the NHMRC recommend the following:
- Guideline 1: Reducing the risk of alcohol-related harm for adults
To reduce the risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury, healthy men and women should drink no more than 10 standard drinks a week and no more than 4 standard drinks on any one day.
The less you drink, the lower your risk of harm from alcohol.
- Guideline 2: Children and people under 18 years of age
To reduce the risk of injury and other harms to health, children and people under 18 years of age should not drink alcohol.
- Guideline 3: Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
A. To prevent harm from alcohol to their unborn child, women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy should not drink alcohol.
B. For women who are breastfeeding, not drinking alcohol is safest for their baby.
For free and confidential advice 24/7 call Family Drug Support on 1300 368 186 or Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS) on 1800 250 015. Counsellors are available to provide information, referrals, crisis counselling and support. Or start a Web Chat with an ADIS counsellor online Monday to Friday, 8.30am – 5pm.