As the St Patrick’s Day weekend approaches and with many planning to celebrate with family and friends, the Public Health Agency (PHA) is urging people to be aware of their alcohol limits.
The PHA is also emphasising the need to look after yourself, your friends and family should you choose to drink alcohol over the holiday.
Owen O’Neill, the PHA’s Drugs and Alcohol Lead, said: “A lot of people will be looking forward to the long weekend ahead and may have plans to meet up with friends and family to celebrate the St Patrick’s holiday. We are urging them to keep a close eye on the amount they drink. It is a good idea to set drinking limits, take it easy and not to overindulge, which can lead to ruining the occasion for yourself and others.”
It is recommended that men drink no more than 3 to 4 units of alcohol a day and no more than 21 units over a week. For women, it is recommended that they drink no more than 2 to 3 units of alcohol a day and no more than 14 units over the course of the week.
Units need to be spread out over the week – you can’t ‘save up’ your units for a particular day or a party.
Binge drinking can have a major impact on health such as causing damage to the liver, heart, brain and stomach.
If you do decide to drink alcohol over the over the St Patrick’s Day holiday, try to follow these simple tips:
Always look after yourself and know what your limits are. You are the best judge as to how much is enough;
Have something to eat before you start drinking to slow down the absorption of alcohol;
Alternate each alcoholic drink with a non-alcoholic drink; for example water or a soft drink;
Take frequent five minute breaks from drinking to give your body time to recover;
Avoid drinking in rounds or having a kitty as this may make you drink more;
Keep track of your drinks and don’t let anyone top up your drink until it’s finished;
If a friend does drink too much, don’t leave them alone or let them wander off, rather, encourage them to re-hydrate with non-alcoholic drinks.