Alcohol on New Year’s Eve



Sorry, I don’t want to be such a spoilsports and dampen your holiday spirit. But studies have shown that a lot of accidents happens at certain time of the year, especially around the 4th of July in the US and during the holiday season. Here are the reasons why

Alcohol

Drinking alcohol is all part of the New Year’s celebrations. And we all know that drinking and driving do not mix. According to Dr. Thomas J. Esposito, a trauma surgeon at Loyola University Health System in Maywood, Ill., as interviewed by the New York Times:

“Any degree of alcohol increases the chances your judgment or coordination can be impaired, whether on New Year’s Eve or any other day. Alcohol is associated with 50 percent of the injuries we see in the emergency rooms.”

However, it is not only the drivers who should pay attention to their blood alcohol levels. The NYT report continues to point out that pedestrians should take care as well. In fact, a study have shown that

“January 1 (New Year’s Day) has more pedestrian crash deaths on average, plus it has the fifth largest number of deaths per day overall, also due to alcohol impairment.”

The NYT report gives the following safety advice to inebriated pedestrians on New Year’s Day:

  • Stay and drink in one place. Avoid moving from one place to another.
  • Call a cab or get a ride with a “sober” driver.
  • Walk with a “sober” buddy.
  • Walk in a large group.
  • Wear lightly colored clothes to make you visible to drivers. Reflectors are especially useful.

Weather

If you are celebrating in the northern hemisphere, you know how the weather is at this time of the year. Even a sober driver can have problems with icy streets and snowstorms. For pedestrians, icy streets are fall hazards. Combined with alcohol, it can be fatal.

Now, if you are celebrating in the tropics or in the southern hemisphere, you have to deal with other climate hazards. In Australia, barbecue parties are very popular during the holidays but the risk of bush fires is rather high at this time of the year.

In addition, alcohol and heat can be a fatal combination that lead to drowning, heatstroke, as well medical conditions such as cardiovascular events.

Food

We eat more than we are supposed to at this time of the year. It is only expected that some adverse effects can come with it.

We’ve tackled this topic many times on this site so I don’t want to say much more. Too much fat, too much calories, and too much sugar can wreak havoc with our body. However, aside from these usual culprits, foodborne outbreaks caused by such nasty bugs like Salmonella and Campylobacter have been reported during celebrations with severe and sometimes fatal consequences.

In addition, a high incidence of food allergies also needs to be reckoned with at this time of the year.

Fireworks

In many countries, fireworks are part of the New Year’s celebrations. However, fireworks can be very dangerous if not handled correctly. Injuries due to fireworks are widely reported the world over, with the highest in the age group 5 to 14 years of age in India. Injuries were serious, even fatal. In the US,  a study released in 2006 reported the following:

“An estimated 85800 pediatric fireworks-related injuries were treated in US emergency departments during the 14-year study period. Injured children had a mean age of 10.8 years, and 77.9% were male. Fireworks users accounted for 49.5% of the injuries, whereas 22.2% of the injuries were to bystanders; however, user status could not be determined in 28.3% of cases. The overall fireworks-related injury rate decreased significantly during the study period, but subgroup analysis did not indicate consistent declines among all ages and types of fireworks. Injuries were most commonly caused by firecrackers (29.6%), sparklers/novelty devices (20.5%), and aerial devices (17.6%). The most commonly injured body sites were the eyeball (20.8%), face (20.0%), and hands (19.8%), and the most common injury type was burns (60.3%). Approximately 91.6% of all children with fireworks-related injuries were treated and released from hospital emergency departments, 5.3% were admitted, and 2.3% were transferred to another institution. Bystanders accounted for 13.3% of admitted cases and 20.6% of transferred cases.”

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.
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