Drinking Alcohol in a Heatwave: Top 3 tips to stay safe

We’re currently in the middle of a ‘heatwave’ making South Africa hotter than in most parts of the Mediterranean.Temperatures are expected to hit 40 degrees by tomorrow in Johannesburg and Pretoria.

It’s estimated that nearly 3 in 10 of South African adults drink more alcohol when the weather gets warmer.

A cool alcoholic drink may seem like a good way to chill out and relax on a hot day but there are many potential downsides.

We want you to make the most of the wonderful weather. So if you do choose to drink alcohol, keep in mind the following 5 top tips to help you stay safe in a heatwave.

1. Drink within the limits

The best way to ensure you enjoy yourself is to know your limits and not drink above the government’s lower risk guidelines for alcohol, which is 3-4 units a day for men, 2-3 units a day for women.

2. Drink plenty of water

Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it encourages the kidneys to lose extra fluid. That is why you go to the toilet much more when you drink alcohol. For every 1g of alcohol you drink, urine excretion increases by 10ml.

Alcohol can also has the effect of making you sweat more. The combination of sweating more in the heat and going to the toilet more regularly means you could lose more fluid than you take in and become dehydrated.

A tip is to drink plenty of water or soft drinks in between alcoholic drinks to try to prevent dehydration.

3. Avoid swimming

While going for a swim may seem like a good idea to cool off on a hot day, please don’t enter the water if you’ve been drinking.

Alcohol slows down your reactions making it more difficult to get yourself out of trouble. It also numbs the senses, particularly sight, sound and touch making swimming difficult.