Alcohol and Christmas: tips

Holidays bring with them parties and gatherings, along with more opportunities than usual to drink alcohol with family and friends. Here are some tips to see you through the festive season with your health intact.

  • The National Health and Medical Research Council recommends a maximum of 2 standard drinks per day for healthy men and women to reduce the lifetime risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury. A standard drink contains approximately 10 grams of alcohol e.g. a 100 mL glass of table wine; a 60 mL glass of fortified wine; a middy of regular beer; or 30 mL of spirits.
  • For healthy men and women, drinking no more than four standard drinks on a single occasion reduces the risk of alcohol-related injury arising from that occasion.
  • Avoid topping drinks up: you may lose count of how many you have had.
  • Try to alternate water or a non-alcoholic alternative with your alcoholic drinks, or try a non-alcoholic cocktail for a refreshing change.
  • Learn how to say no and encourage your friends to be supportive. Nominate yourself as the designated driver if you wish to avoid alcohol.
  • Remember that some beverages will contain more than one standard drink: take this into account when calculating your intake for the evening, particularly if you are driving.
  • Try to eat a substantial meal to increase your tolerance if you are planning on drinking. Avoid eating too many salty party snack foods which will encourage you to drink more quickly.
  • The Federal Office of Road Safety recommends you test yourself on a breath test machine approved by Standards Australia if you intend to drive after drinking. The national legal limit for blood alcohol concentration when driving is 0.05. In some States the legal limit for driving for L- and P-plate drivers is lower.
  • Remember that you may still be over the limit the next morning after a large drinking session.
  • Women should be aware that drinking the same number of drinks as a male counterpart can produce a higher blood alcohol reading in a woman because women generally have proportionately more fat and less body water than men. The contraceptive pill can also make women more affected by alcohol.
  • If you are having problems saying no to alcohol, talk to your doctor for support.

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