April 2016 Nurse’s Blog

April is alcohol awareness month. As your Parish Nurse,
I encourage you to educate yourself and your family
about the dangers of drinking too much. Let’s clarify
what drinking too much means.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
gives these guidelines. If you choose to drink, have only
a moderate amount. This means no more than one drink a
day for women and no more than two drinks a day for
men. A drink is a twelve- ounce bottle of beer, a five ounce
glass of wine, eight ounces of malt liquor, or a 1.5-
ounce shot of liquor. For most adults, moderate drinking
doesn’t cause serious health problems. All states in the
United States have adopted 0.08% as the legal blood
alcohol limit for operating a motor vehicle for drivers
aged 21 years or older. Drivers younger than 21 are not
allowed to operate a motor vehicle with any level of
alcohol in their system. Legal limits do not define a level
below which it is safe to operate a vehicle or engage in
some other activity. Impairment due to alcohol use
begins to occur at levels well below the legal limit. One
drink can raise your blood alcohol level approximately
0.02%, but everyone metabolizes alcohol differently so
this varies with individuals.

Certain individuals should avoid drinking completely.
Don’t drink at all if you are pregnant, are under age for
drinking, are a recovering alcoholic, or have a health
condition that can be made worse by drinking. Also some
prescription and over the counter medicines react with
alcohol and change how they affect your body. There is a
helpful web site that lists medicines and how alcohol
affects them.  It is also very important to avoid drinking if you
plan to drive a car or operate machines. Car accidents
due to DUI continue to rise in Pennsylvania as well as
nationally.

Sometimes we aren’t even aware of how much alcohol
we consume. Keep track of your drinking. Don’t drink
when you are upset or under stress. Check out how many
calories are in drinks. Find out how much money you are
spending on alcohol. If you think you or a friend has a
drinking problem ask for help. If you think drinking is
causing problems with your relationships or at work or
school, or interfering with your thinking or feeling, get
help right away. Talk to your doctor or speak with me.