June 1 Sober is safer: Thinking then drinking
5/31/2012 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Editor's note: Information for this article was provided by the Air Force Safety Center.
The 2012 Critical Days of Summer safety campaign purpose has a goal to prevent the tragic loss and injury of Airmen during the summer.
Drinking has become a part of many summer pastimes - before, during and after. While most people are aware of the hazards of drinking and driving, there are many more situations where alcohol becomes a danger.
Consider the consequences before you begin your summer fun; your safety, as well as the safety of others, will depend on your clear thinking. Develop your plan before rather than after and stick to it. Whether it's having a designated driver or choosing to stay sober while you participate in outdoor activities, you will have fun knowing you've taken steps to prevent injury or death.
According to the National Institutes of Health, these are the effects of alcohol:
Alcoholic drinks have different amounts of alcohol in them and alcohol gets into your bloodstream quickly:
- Beer is about five percent alcohol, although darker beers and ales can have more
- Wine is usually 12 to 15 percent alcohol
- Hard liquor is about 45 percent alcohol
The amount and type of food in your stomach can change how quickly alcohol enters your bloodstream. For example, high-carbohydrate and high-fat foods can make your body absorb alcohol more slowly.
Certain types of alcoholic drinks get into your bloodstream faster. A carbonated (fizzy) alcoholic drink, such as champagne, will be absorbed faster than a non-carbonated drink.
Alcohol slows your breathing rate, heart rate and how well your brain functions. These effects may appear within 10 minutes and peak around 40 to 60 minutes later. Alcohol stays in your bloodstream until it is broken down by the liver.
The amount of alcohol in your blood is called your "blood alcohol level." If you drink alcohol faster than the liver can break it down, this level will rise.
Your blood alcohol level is used to legally define whether or not you are "drunk." The blood alcohol legal limit usually falls between 0.08 and 0.10 in most states. Below is a list of blood alcohol levels and the likely symptoms.
- 0.05 -- reduced inhibitions
- 0.10 -- slurred speech
- 0.20 -- euphoria and motor impairment
- 0.30 -- confusion
- 0.40 -- stupor
- 0.50 -- coma
- 0.60 -- respiratory paralysis and death
For more information about how 'Sober is Safer," visit these additional resources:
To get information each week about the campaign, visit www.kunsan.af.mil.