While we all understand the dangers of drinking and driving, how many people realize that drinking and walking is just as dangerous? So, if you’ve decided to leave the car at home and just celebrate locally this New Year’s Eve we’d like to bring you a cautionary tale.
According to trauma surgeon Dr. Thomas Esposito at Loyola University Health System “alcohol impairs your physical ability, period.”
A trauma surgeon for more than 25 years, Esposito has witnessed the tragic aftermath of drunkeness many times. A quarter of all pedestrian struck cases seen in his department, were found to have blood-alcohol concentrations at or above the accepted level for intoxication. In 2005, the journal Injury Prevention reported that New Year’s Day is more deadly for pedestrians than any other day of the year. From 1986 to 2002, 410 pedestrians were killed on New Year’s Day. 58% of those killed had high blood-alcohol concentrations.
“If they had been driving and were stopped by police, they would have been arrested for driving under the influence,” Esposito said.
And it’s not just walking outside. Working, as I do, in Emergency Medicine, I often see people who have fallen down the stairs or tripped and injured themselves after drinking. Others have unwisely chosen to mix alcohol with guns, knives, bottles and fists, invariably with tragic consequences.
To avoid becoming a 2011 statistic, SRXA’s Word in Health brings you the following tips:
- Don’t wear dark clothing that can make it difficult for drivers to see you
- Stay out of the road. Use sidewalks and cross at designated crosswalks
- Walk in a group, preferably with a designated chaperone or escort
Stay safe & have a Happy New Year. We look forward to welcoming you back in 2012.
New Year’s Eve. A time to celebrate with dancing, drinking and delicious foods.
And while we hope our readers will enjoy the festivities, we want to ensure that the fun and frivolities don’t cause you or your loved ones injury.
So, our final Word on Health for the Year: eat, drink and be merry but keep these safety topics in mind:
- While festive drinks are fabulous, please drink responsibly. Let’s keep inebriated drivers off the roads. Organize your transportation plans ahead of time so you can enjoy yourself and arrive home safely.
- If you’re hosting a New Year party, remember although candles are beautiful they could potentially cause a fire. Make sure they are placed where they can’t be bumped and remember to blow them out before heading to bed.
- If you have young children or pets, you may want to forgo small whistles or plastic bells, which could cause a choking hazard.
- Dress warmly. Even if you aren’t joining the millions of people watching the ball drop outside in Times Square, in most parts of the country Dec. 31 2010, is going to be very very cold. Be prepared for situations like cars not starting, having to park a long distance away from the party or losing your keys. Have plenty of antifreeze and windshield wiper fluid on hand, and check your tire conditions before you leave the house. It’s a good idea to pack an emergency car kit, complete with tools, warm blankets, water, nonperishable food items, flashlights and cell phones, in case your car were to become stuck in a remote location.
So party safe and be sure to join us again in 2011 for all the latest news and views from the world of health, medicine and pharmaceuticals.