With the Six Nations drawing to an end, it has been an exciting few weeks to get together with friends and family to cheer on the boys in green! With all that potential for celebration, the Public Health Agency (PHA) is reminding people to watch their alcohol intake this St. Patrick’s Day and during the last big Six Nations match.
Owen O’Neill, PHA Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement Manager and Drugs and Alcohol Lead, said: “The Six Nations championship, concluding on St Patrick’s Day, is an exciting event that everyone can enjoy. It’s also important to be smart about your use of alcohol and make sure that your drinking does not spoil the holiday for yourself or others.
“Alcohol is Northern Ireland’s favorite drug but binge-drinking can have lasting effects on one’s health, such as damage to the liver, heart, brain and stomach. Therefore, the PHA suggests that whether you are a rugby fan, celebrating St Patrick’s Day, or indeed Mother’s Day on Sunday, to taking personal responsibility for your drinking and to set a limit on the big day(s) to prevent excessive drinking.”
The message is clear – if you decide to drink, remember to enjoy alcohol sensibly. People should follow the recommended daily alcohol limits and these simple tips:
- 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;
- have something to eat before you start drinking to slow down the absorption of alcohol;
- 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.
For further information on sensible drinking and alcohol units visit the Public Health Agency’s website www.knowyourlimits.info
Contact the PHA Press Office on 028 9055 3663
Notes to the editor
- The Public Health Agency takes the lead on the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety’s New Strategic Direction for Alcohol and Drugs, Phase 2, 2011-2016.
- A booklet to help parents talk to their children about alcohol, You, Your Child and Alcohol, is available from GP surgeries, pharmacies, Post Offices and from the publications section on the PHA website, www.publichealth.hscni.net.
- Daily alcohol limits are recommended by government in order to avoid the health and social risks of excessive and binge drinking in any one session. These recommended limits are:
- Men: It is recommended that men drink no more than three to four units of alcohol a day (i.e two pints of standard beer) and no more than 21 units over the course of the week.
- Women: It is recommended that women drink no more than two to three units of alcohol a day (ie a 175ml glass of wine) and no more than 14 units over the course of the week.
- Remember, that for each unit you drink over the daily limit, the risk to your health increases. It's important to spread the units throughout the week – you shouldn’t ‘save up’ your units for the weekend or a special occasion.
- Pregnant women or women trying to conceive should avoid drinking alcohol. If they do choose to drink, to minimise the risk to the baby they should not drink more than one to two units of alcohol once or twice a week and should not get drunk.
- Alcohol is usually measured in units. Many bottles of wine, beer and ready-mixed drinks have the units marked on the label.