Myth: You can drive as long as you are not slurring your words or acting erratically.
Fact: The coordination needed for driving is compromised long before the signs of intoxication are visible and ones reaction time is slowed. Plus, the sedative effects of alcohol increase the risk of nodding off or losing attention behind the wheel.
Myth: Drink coffee. Caffeine will sober you up.
Fact: Caffeine may help with drowsiness, but not with the effects of alcohol on decision-making or coordination. The body needs time to metabolize (break down) alcohol and then to return to normal. Also, when caffeine wears off, there are the additive effects of the increased sedative effects of alcohol and post-caffeine sleepiness. There are no quick curesonly time will help.
Myth: The warm feeling you get from drinking alcohol insulates you from the cold of winter. When youre drinking, theres no need to wear a coat when its cold outside.
Fact: Alcohol widens the tiny blood vessels right under the skin, so they quickly fill with warm blood. This makes you feel warm or hot, and can cause your skin to flush and perspire. But your body temperature is actually dropping, because while alcohol is pulling warmth from your core to the skin surface, it is also depressing the area of your brain that controls temperature regulation. In cold environments, this can lead to hypothermia. So, wear a coat when its cold outside, particularly if you are drinking alcohol.
Have a safe holiday season!
For more information on celebrating your holidays safely and tips for cutting back, visit: http://www.RethinkingDrinking.niaaa.nih.gov.