[Kealie Mardell | Print Editor]
It’s no secret that students can get up to all types of crazy antics on a night out, but it’s also important to look after your health and stay safe. If you are planning on drinking alcohol then there are some simple steps that you can take to drink responsibly.
Before starting your night out make sure you eat something, as food makes the body absorb alcohol at a slower rate. You should also alternate alcoholic drinks with water or soft drinks to dilute the alcohol in your system. Throughout the night, keep track of how much you are drinking and be aware of your own limits.
The NHS recommends that women should not regularly drink more than 2-3 units a day, and 3-4 units per day for men. A standard beer or glass of wine is typically 2 units, whereas each 25ml shot of a spirit is 1 unit. If you have had an excessive drinking session, you should avoid alcohol for 48 hours to allow your body time to recover.
It goes without saying that you should never drink and drive. If you need to travel home after a night out its best to arrange this beforehand, by asking a designated driver or planning to take a taxi. Where possible, try to travel in a group and always look after one another.
If you have overindulged you are likely to spend the next morning nursing a hangover. While there are no real cures for a hangover, knowing what causes them can help to ease the symptoms.
Alcohol has a dehydrating effect on the body, causing many of the hangover symptoms. The best way to combat this is to rehydrate before you go to sleep, preferably with water. The next morning, you should continue to drink water and opt for nutritious food such as fruit with high potassium content. Hair-of-the-dog, black coffee, and greasy foods are all hangover cure myths, and should be avoided.
If you don’t end up spending the night alone, it’s important to maintain the practice of safe sex. This must be a consensual decision between two sexual partners, where you both take responsible precautions for your health. By practicing safe sex you reduce the risk of unwanted pregnancy or contracting a sexually transmitted infection. Even if the woman is on the pill or other contraceptive method, you are not protected against STIs. Simply, the easiest way to ensure safe sex is by always using a condom.
While you should definitely enjoy your nights out as a Fresher, make sure to stay safe and be responsible. If you need further information on responsible drinking or safe sex visit drinkaware.co.uk, a local sexual health clinic or the Campus Pharmacy.