‘Don’t let alcohol become a problem during lockdown’ – Public Health Agency

Posted by
editor@newrytimes.com
Monday, February 1st, 2021
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While we’re all again being asked to stay at home as much as possible to help stop the spread of coronavirus, the Public Health Agency (PHA) is reminding people to think about their alcohol habits during this period.

 

'Don’t let alcohol become a problem during lockdown' - Public Health Agency - Newry online news

 

Drinking too much can seriously damage your health and have a negative impact on those around you.

 

 

Whilst at home more, five key things to remember are:

 1. Don’t stockpile alcohol in your home – the more you have the more tempted you may be to drink.

 2. Keep out of reach and sight of children – with schools closed, children are around the house more, so set a good example, don’t drink around the kids.

 3. Keep it late – being at home more means we may be tempted to drink earlier, so if you’re drinking set a time later in the evening to start.

 4. Choose alcohol free days – plan several alcohol free days and stick to them.

 5. Help is out there – making changes can be hard and if you or someone you know is struggling, support services are available. They can found on www.drugsandalcoholni.info

 

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Michael Owen, Regional Lead for Drugs and Alcohol at the PHA, said, “At this time when the health service is under increasing pressures because of COVID-19, we need to act responsibly and not add to that burden.

“Drinking too much can cause accidents around the home, which might need hospital treatment.

“Help protect the health service and yourself by doing all you can to avoid unnecessary problems with alcohol.

“COVID-19 is a serious threat and being intoxicated could be putting you and others at risk as you are less likely to be coherent and able to follow the social distancing and good hygiene practices that are required to help protect you from the virus.

“Changing your drinking habits doesn’t have to be a chore and throughout this pandemic, we’ve all found ways to do things differently and creatively, so why not challenge yourself to try something new.

“There are a lot of alcohol-free and low alcohol options in the shops with alternatives for beer and wines.

“Why not get really creative and experiment with alcohol-free cocktails, finding different flavours from mixing fruit juices, herbs and spices and soft drinks.

 

 

“When you do go to buy alcohol please don’t stockpile,” he continued.

“Plan your weekly shop and only buy as much as you have decided you want to drink during the week, making sure to keep to the recommended alcohol units.

“If you stockpile the temptation is there to drink more than you normally would, especially if you’re at home for the vast majority of your time.

“The UK Chief Medical Officers’ guidelines say that for both men and women to keep the risks from alcohol low, it’s safest to drink no more than 14 units a week.

“So get to know your units. For example, a small glass of wine can be just over two units, and a measure of spirits can be around one and a half units.

“If you are pregnant or think you could become pregnant, the safest approach is not to drink alcohol at all, to keep risks to your baby to a minimum.

“When at home, people are likely to ‘free-pour’, not keeping an eye on the measures and fill the glass a little more, so the number of units being drunk is greater than we think.

 

 

“Think about how much you are pouring and try your best to measure out your alcohol, enabling you to keep better track of your units and don’t be tempted to go back to the fridge for ‘just one more beer’.

“In this time where we’re spending less time in the workplace, and not going out to see friends and family, it can be all too easy to just have a drink on our own at home, and frequently earlier in the day than normal,” Michael added.

You can find a list of support services in your area at www.drugsandalcoholni.info.

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