Have a safe alcohol strategy for the holidays
By JoAnna Giraud
MARSHFIELD — The holiday season is a time for family, friends, and celebrations. Sadly, between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, there is also a tragic jump in the number of alcohol-related injuries and deaths due to traffic accidents.
Some partygoers do not consume alcohol regularly and are more susceptible to the effects of alcohol. Other partygoers who regularly consume a moderate amount of alcohol may choose to increase their consumption during the holidays. No matter what anyone typically consumes, according to federal standards, moderate drinking is defined as one drink per day for a woman and two for a man. A drink of alcohol is defined as 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits, 5 ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer.
Remember, coffee or a cold shower does not eliminate alcohol from the bloodstream. Time is the only thing that decreases alcohol in the bloodstream.
If a person chooses to drink, then he or she should not drive. An automobile is a dangerous weapon in the hands of an impaired driver, killing one person in the US every hour. About three in every 10 Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some point in their lives, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 2014 crash data. Even small amounts of alcohol can impair reaction time and the ability to make good decisions.
The month of December is Alcohol-Impaired Driving Prevention Month, and state and local police are increasing their efforts to reduce drunk and drugged driving. Do not risk an operating while intoxicated citation, injury, or death.
Tips for hosting safe holiday parties:
—Have plenty of alcohol-free beverages available.
—Provide small cups for alcoholic beverages. Portion size makes a difference.
—Instead of offering do-it-yourself mixed drinks, make a batch of eggnog or punch in advance with a limited amount of alcohol.
—Make sure everyone leaves with a sober driver.
—For children the holiday celebrations will serve as a lifelong guide on how to celebrate. Make sure to model appropriate behaviors.
With a little planning, everyone can ring in 2016 safely.
JoAnna Giraud is a health educator at Marshfield Clinic Center for Community Outreach and a member of Marshfield Area Coalition for Youth (MACY). MACY is a coalition consisting of diverse community organizations and members working to prevent youth substance use and foster healthy, resilient youth and families. Together we can build healthier communities. Join us at marshfield4youth.org or by calling 715-221-8400.