Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Have a Happy — and Safe — St. Patrick’s Day

Public Health wishes you a happy and safe St. Patty’s Day 2017. 

If you’re celebrating the Patron Saint of Ireland on March 17 with a pint Green Beer, remember that moderation is key.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, a variety of short- and long-term health risks are associated with alcohol consumption, including motor vehicle crashes, sexual risk behaviors, violence, high blood pressure and various cancers, like breast cancer. 

The more you drink, the higher the risk.

The 2015-2020 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that if you consume alcohol, you do so in moderation — up to one drink per day for women, two drinks per day for men and never for underage persons or pregnant women.

One drink is considered 12 ounces of beer, 8 ounces of malt liquor, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits or liquor.

Binge drinking — or a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol content to .08 percent or higher — is more than 4 drinks in a single occasion for women or more than 5 drinks for men.

More than half the alcohol consumed by adults in the U.S. is consumed by binge drinking, and binge drinking is associated with many health problems, like unintentional injuries, alcohol poisoning, sexually transmitted diseases, liver disease, unintended pregnancy, cardiovascular disease, neurological damage and more. 

Binge drinkers are 14 times more likely to drive impaired than non-binge drinkers, according to the CDC.

In 2016, nearly 400 impaired drivers were arrested on St. Patrick’s Day in Colorado. In 2017, that number more than 500, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.

This year, be safe AND have fun on St. Patrick’s Day. If you choose to drink, do so in moderation. 

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