Spring break is here and we need to think about some of the safety precautions we can put in place to help those in distress. One of the things, specifically college students, like to do is have adult beverages. According to Dan Perry who wrote an article for Duke University, 42% of all college students will be drunk at least once during their spring break.
With this being said, what can happen in the realm of health and safety if we consume too much alcohol? Well, we want to party, so we drink alcohol a large portion of the day and we do not want to miss any activities so when we get up after a night of drinking, we drink cokes and coffee to get enough caffeine in use to help us stay awake. Caffeine and alcohol both aid in the dehydration process.
According to WebMD the signs and symptoms of dehydration range from minor to severe and include:
- Increased thirst
- Dry mouth and swollen tongue
- Palpitations (feeling that the heart is jumping or pounding)
- Sluggishness fainting
- Inability to sweat
- Decreased urine output
To help alleviate the over consumption of alcohol and caffeine the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) recommends drinking one nonalcoholic drink for every alcoholic drink consumed: (http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/SummerSafety/SummerSafety.htm) . The nonalcoholic drink should not contain caffeine for two reasons: 1) caffeine is a diuretic, and 2) drinking caffeine increases the urge to move more. Using these techniques to help prevent a major first aid need for dehydration can be easily avoided. Always remember to drink responsibly and as we exit the winter months, keep in mind that the goal of a break is to have fun and enjoy life! Feeling bad because of the negative effects of alcohol takes away from the joy of vacation. So, when headed toward warmer climates, please drink some water, replenish your electrolytes, eat a full meal prior to drinking, and have fun.