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Dragonfly August 11th, 2020
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Winter Holiday Drinking

Posted by on December 11th, 2019 Posted in: Health Literacy/Consumer Health
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photo of champagne and glassesFamily, friends, and co-workers schedule time to gather to celebrate the winter holidays. Often, alcohol is on the menu and it can be easy to drink more than usual. Unfortunately, this can put ourselves and others at risk whether a fight or traffic accident.

The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) provides some tips when hosting an event:

  • Offer a variety of nonalcoholic drinks—water, juices, sparkling sodas. Nonalcoholic drinks help counteract the dehydrating effects of alcohol. Also, the other fluids may slow the rate of alcohol absorption into the body and reduce the peak alcohol concentration in the blood. They also provide your guests with alternatives to alcohol.
  • Provide a variety of healthy foods and snacks. Food can slow the absorption of alcohol and reduce the peak level of alcohol in the body by about one-third. Food can also minimize stomach irritation and gastrointestinal distress the following day.
  • Help your guests get home safely—use designated drivers and taxis. Anyone getting behind the wheel of a car should not have ingested any alcohol.
  • If you are a parent, understand the underage drinking laws—and set a good example.

Many of us do not plan to consume more alcohol than we can handle and we do not intend to harm anyone. Planning ahead may help prevent tragedy.

  • Designate a driver
  • Take public transportation
  • Use a ride-sharing service
  • Use the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) SaferRide app to call a taxi or friend to pick you up

In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides a virtual reality experience of a drunk driving crash scene allowing viewers to interact with first responders. It highlights the consequences of drinking and driving, providing a sobering account of a tragedy.

Learn more about drinking safely during the holidays from the NIAAA including their drink calculators that tell you how many calories and alcohol are in your drink.

Image of the author ABOUT Carolyn Martin
Carolyn Martin is the Consumer Health Coordinator for the NNLM Pacific Northwest Region. She works with various libraries and community organizations to increase health literacy in their communities.

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Developed resources reported in this program are supported by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), National Institutes of Health (NIH) under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012343 with the University of Washington.

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