Displaying items by tag: New Year's Eve

Tuesday, 31 December 2019 16:28

How to avoid alcohol poisoning

The most exciting evening of the year is coming and we start celebrating hours, even days before.  Champagne, beer, vodka, rum…you won’t find a venue without it. Unfortunately the pace at which alcohol is consumed can be just as deadly as the quantity. What you read below may be difficult to swallow, but it’s necessary to know to stay healthy.

What is acute alcohol intoxication?

Simply put, it’s alcohol poisoning. Alcohol consumed in high quantities and at too fast a pace will disrupt metabolic processes in the body. A healthy human body will break down alcohol at a rate of 1 oz per hour.  So if the average shot glass contains 0.6 – 1.5 oz. of alcohol and if one takes in 4 shots in one sitting, math dictates that the body will not be able to keep up.

Whatever the liver does not metabolize will continue to circulate in the body.  As a defense mechanism, your gut may try to throw it up, which is why vomiting is a red flag of acute alcohol intoxication.

Alcohol is additionally a sedative so respiratory rate can drop to the point of causing the drinker to become unconscious. Slow respiration coupled with high alcohol blood content will cause drinkers to have impaired brain function (loss of memory, acting confused) and dilation of blood vessels. This can hypoperfuse certain organs as your body tries to preserve blood flow to the heart and brain, thus giving the drinker a pale, clammy look.

Chronic alcohol intoxication could cause scarring of the liver called cirrhosis.

How much alcohol is safe to drink?

The CDC website defines quantities of alcohol as the following:

A standard drink is equal to 14.0 grams (0.6 ounces) of pure alcohol. Generally, this amount of pure alcohol is found in

  • 12-ounces of beer (5% alcohol content).
  • 8-ounces of malt liquor (7% alcohol content).
  • 5-ounces of wine (12% alcohol content).
  • 1.5-ounces or a “shot” of 80-proof (40% alcohol content) distilled spirits or liquor (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, whiskey).

Women metabolize alcohol differently from men, so they are encouraged to drink less. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, a man should drink no more than 2 standard drinks a day and for women, no more than 1. Binge Drinking” is defined as 4 or more drinks (woman) or 5 or more drinks (man) in a 2 hour period.

According to their website they state:

MODERATE ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION:
ACCORDING TO THE “DIETARY GUIDELINES FOR AMERICANS 2015-2020,” U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES AND U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, MODERATE DRINKING IS UP TO 1 DRINK PER DAY FOR WOMEN AND UP TO 2 DRINKS PER DAY FOR MEN.
BINGE DRINKING:
  • NIAAA DEFINES BINGE DRINKING AS A PATTERN OF DRINKING THAT BRINGS BLOOD ALCOHOL CONCENTRATION (BAC) LEVELS TO 0.08 G/DL. THIS TYPICALLY OCCURS AFTER 4 DRINKS FOR WOMEN AND 5 DRINKS FOR MEN—IN ABOUT 2 HOURS.
  • THE SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES ADMINISTRATION (SAMHSA), WHICH CONDUCTS THE ANNUAL NATIONAL SURVEY ON DRUG USE AND HEALTH (NSDUH), DEFINES BINGE DRINKING AS 5 OR MORE ALCOHOLIC DRINKS FOR MALES OR 4 OR MORE ALCOHOLIC DRINKS FOR FEMALES ON THE SAME OCCASION (I.E., AT THE SAME TIME OR WITHIN A COUPLE OF HOURS OF EACH OTHER) ON AT LEAST 1 DAY IN THE PAST MONTH.
HEAVY ALCOHOL USE:
SAMHSA DEFINES HEAVY ALCOHOL USE AS BINGE DRINKING ON 5 OR MORE DAYS IN THE PAST MONTH.

 

What if I’m taking medication? Can I still drink?

There is no official list of what medications can be swigged with alcohol.  Some sources will incorrectly say “Tylenol” however one’s liver may not agree as both acetaminophen (its key ingredient) and alcohol may cause liver disease.  We suggest speaking with your medical provider first before drinking.

The National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism provides a list of medications that could produce serious side effects when mixed with alcohol (even during the same night).  For example, NSAIDS (non steroidal antiinflammatories, such as ibuprofen), could increase the risk of GI Bleed.

How much alcohol is toxic to the body?

Any amount of alcohol may be toxic to the body depending on one’s baseline health and how his/her body metabolizes alcohol.  One drink has even been linked to cancer such as those of the throat and/or GI tract. So we don’t have an official “safe level” of alcohol to consistently promote. How we determine ranges of toxicity depends on one’s Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) which can be measured.

The following tables come from the University of Notre Dame, Student Well-Being McDonald Center…….

BAC-Specific Effects

BAC Level

Generalized Dose Specific Effects

0.020-0.039%

No loss of coordination, slight euphoria, and loss of shyness. Relaxation, but depressant effects are not apparent.

0.040-0.059%

Feeling of well-being, relaxation, lower inhibitions, and sensation of warmth. Euphoria. Some minor impairment of judgment and memory, lowering of caution.

0.06-0.099%

Slight impairment of balance, speech, vision, reaction time, and hearing. Euphoria. Reduced judgment and self-control. Impaired reasoning and memory.

0.100-0.129%

Significant impairment of motor coordination and loss of good judgment. Speech may be slurred; balance, peripheral vision, reaction time, and hearing will be impaired.

0.130-0.159%

Gross motor impairment and lack of physical control. Blurred vision and major loss of balance. Euphoria is reducing and beginning dysphoria (a state of feeling unwell)

0.160-0.199%

Dysphoria predominates, nausea may appear. The drinker has the appearance of a sloppy drunk.

0.200-0.249%

Needs assistance in walking; total mental confusion. Dysphoria with nausea and vomiting; possible blackout.

0.250-0.399%

Alcohol poisoning. Loss of consciousness.

0.40% +

Onset of coma, possible death due to respiratory arrest.

Estimating Blood Alcohol Level (Based on Weight) – Males

Weight

1 drink

2 drinks

3 drinks

4 drinks

5 drinks

6 drinks

7 drinks

8 drinks

9 drinks

10 drinks

100 lbs

.043

.087

.130

.174

.217

.261

.304

.348

.391

.435

125 lbs

.034

.069

.103

.139

.173

.209

.242

.278

.312

.346

150 lbs

.029

.058

.087

.116

.145

.174

.203

.232

.261

.290

175 lbs

.025

.050

.075

.100

.125

.150

.175

.200

.225

.250

200 lbs

.022

.043

.065

.087

.108

.130

.152

.174

.195

.217

225 lbs

.019

.039

.058

.078

.097

.117

.136

.156

.175

.195

250 lbs

.017

.035

.052

.070

.087

.105

.122

.139

.156

.173

Estimating Blood Alcohol Level (Based on Weight) – Females

Weight

1 drinks

2 drinks

3 drinks

4 drinks

5 drinks

6 drinks

7 drinks

8 drinks

9 drinks

10 drinks

100 lbs

.050

.101

.152

.203

.253

.304

.355

.406

.456

.507

125 lbs

.040

.080

.120

.162

.202

.244

.282

.324

.364

.404

150 lbs

.034

.068

.101

.135

.169

.203

.237

.271

.304

.338

175 lbs

.029

.058

.087

.117

.146

.175

.204

.233

.262

.292

200 lbs

.026

.050

.076

.101

.126

.152

.177

.203

.227

.253

225 lbs

.022

.045

.068

.091

.113

.136

.159

.182

.204

.227

250 lbs

.020

.041

.061

.082

.101

.122

.142

.162

.182

.202

Time Factor Table

Time is the only factor to lower one’s Blood Alcohol Content. Coffee, cold showers, etc… are all myths.

Hours since first drink

1

2

3

4

5

6

Subtract from blood alcohol level

.015

.030

.045

.060

.075

.090

 

A Happy New Year should also be a Healthy New Year.  So be warm, dry, safe and have fun!!

 

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news, her views and opinions, medical or otherwise, are her own. Doctor Wachs is an MD,  FAAFP and a Board Certified Family Physician.  The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

Published in Health
Friday, 27 December 2019 00:04

Easy and practical New Year’s Resolutions

TO AVOID FAILING AT ONE’S NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS, START BEFORE RETURNING TO WORK AS VACATION TIME ALLOWS ONE MORE FLEXIBILITY TO KEEP TO ONE’S GOALS

Updated 12/17/19

Nothing is more of a buzz kill, enjoying the biggest party of the year, than the discussion of New Year’s Resolutions. Let’s be honest ...what are these resolutions anyway? They’re a promise to do the right thing in exchange for no one nagging us while we abuse ourselves over the holidays. So it’s no wonder most New Year’s resolutions fail. If your heart’s not it and if the goals aren’t realistic, resolutions won’t be met. 

Moreover we wait until January 2nd to give up smoking, or sweets, and struggle as we are returning from vacation and need to hit our work schedule head on.  So I suggest starting your healthy habits during your holiday vacation week(s) where you can go through withdrawal or be grumpy without the boss seeing.  The resolutions may stick longer and they will be easier to do once the new work week/year begins.

The most common (and commonly failed) New Year’s Resolutions are:

  1. To lose weight
  2. To stop smoking
  3. To drink less
  4. To make more money
  5. To spend more time with family
  6. To perform better at work
  7. To save more money
  8. To eat healthier
  9. To go to church/temple more often
  10. Get a boyfriend/girlfriend
  11. Spend less time on the internet/smartphone
  12. To watch less porn

Look how general and insurmountable some of these can be.  They’re too broad and if these were easy to do, you would already be accomplishing them.

So which New Year’s Resolutions can be practical and attainable?

Choose easy, finite, small discreet steps.  You’ll feel better since they are easier to accomplish.

 

  • Drink more water
  • Call your mother once a week – sorry, sorry, how about once a month…  better?
  • Lose 5 pounds in January.  Then try to lose 5 lbs in February…
  • Eat more vegetables
  • Take $20 a paycheck and put into savings
  • Make 7 pm – 8 pm playtime with the kids
  • Walk 10 minutes a day in January.  In February bring it up to 15 minutes, and so on
  • Plan the third Saturday of the month to be date night with your spouse
  • Go to church/temple more often – no shortcuts here
  • Put out each cigarette after 1-2 puffs
  • Check your cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure, etc
  • Make an appointment for a physical
  • Plan a mid year vacation
  • Organize your desk at work
  • Walk the dog for an extra half hour on Sundays
  • Limit computer/phone time to 1 hour a day

 

The list goes on.  But you see how making small, baby goals can build on themselves to the point where you will lose weight, eat healthier, save more money, preserve your relationship, perform better at work, etc.

Oh, I forgot one last important New Years Resolution ...listen to more stimulating medical talk radio.  Tee-hee…..

Wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year!!!

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news, her views and opinions, medical or otherwise, are her own. Doctor Wachs is an MD,  FAAFP and a Board Certified Family Physician.  The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

Published in News & Information
Friday, 28 December 2018 19:37

New Year thoughts

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? I always do.  A New Year always brings with it promise and uncertainty, but this coming year brings with it a greater foreboding than we have experienced in the past.  The Chinese have a saying: “May you live in interesting times.” But their definition means dangerous or turbulent. We in Louisiana and throughout America certainly live in “interesting” times today.

One resolution I make each year is to maintain my curiosity.  It doesn’t matter how limited your perspective or how narrow the scope of your surroundings, there is (or should be) something to whet your interest and strike your fancy.  I discovered early on that there are two kinds of people — those who are curious about the world around them, and those whose shallow attentions are generally limited to those things that pertain to their own personal well-being.  I just hope all those I care about fall into the former category.

Another resolution is to continue to hope.  I hope for successful and fulfilling endeavors for my children, happiness and contentment for family and friends, and for the fortitude to handle both the highs and lows of daily living with dignity.

Each year, I ask my children to give me two gifts for Christmas.  First, I ask them to make a donation to a charity that will help needy families in their community. And second, I ask them to re-read Night, the unforgettable holocaust novel by Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Peace laureate who survived the Nazi death camps. I have a Wiesel quote framed on my office desk:

 “To defeat injustice and misfortune, if only for one instant, for a single victim, is to invent a new reason to hope.”

Like many of you, our family welcomes in the New Year with “Auld Lang Syne.”  It’s an old Scotch tune, with words passed down orally, and recorded by my favorite historical poet, Robert Burns, back in the 1700s.  (I’m Scottish, so there’s a bond here.) “Auld Lang Syne,” literally means “old long ago,” or simply, “the good old days.”  Did you know this song is sung at the stroke of midnight in almost every English-speaking country in the world to bring in the New Year?

I can look back over many years of memorable New Year’s Eve celebrations.  In recent years, my wife and I have joined a gathering of family and friends in New Orleans at a French Quarter restaurant.  After dinner, we make a stop at St. Louis Cathedral for a blessing of the New Year. Then it’s off to join the masses for the New Year’s countdown to midnight in Jackson Square.

When my daughters were quite young, we spent a number of New Year holidays at a family camp on Davis Island, in the middle of the Mississippi River some 30 miles below Vicksburg.  On several occasions, the only people there were my family and Bishop Charles P. Greco, who was the Catholic Bishop for central and north Louisiana. Bishop Greco had baptized all three of my daughters, and had been a family friend for years.

On many a cold and rainy morning, the handful of us at the camp would rise before dawn for the Bishop to conduct a New Year’s Mass.  After the service, most of the family went back to bed.  I would crank up my old jeep and take the Bishop out in the worst weather with hopes of putting him on a stand where a large buck would pass.  No matter what the weather, he would stay all morning with his shotgun and thermos of coffee.  He rarely got a deer, but oh how he loved to be there in the woods.  Now, I’m not a Catholic, but he treated me as one of his own.

New Year’s Day means lots of football, but I also put on my chef’s apron.  I’m well regarded in the kitchen around my household, if I say so myself, for cooking up black-eyed peas as well as cabbage and corn bread. And don’t bet I won’t find the dime in the peas. After all, I’m going to put it there.

I’ll be back next week with my customary views that are cantankerous, opinionated, inflammatory, slanted, and always full of vim and vigor.  Sometimes, to a few, even a bit fun to read.  In the meantime, Happy New Year to you, your friends and all of your family.   See you next year.

Peace and Justice

Jim Brown

 

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Jim Brown is a guest contributor to GCN news. His views and opinions, if expressed, are his own. His column appears each week in numerous newspapers throughout the nation and on websites worldwide. You can read all his past columns and see continuing updates at http://www.jimbrownusa.com. You can also hear Jim’s nationally syndicated radio show, Common Sense, each Sunday morning from 9:00 am till 11:00 am Central Time on the Genesis Communication Network.

Published in Opinion

The holidays flew by us way too quickly and left the wind chill in its wake.

Unfortunately, with all the hustle and bustle this time of year, we tend to forget how dangerous the weather can be. It would make sense to stay indoors, and for the most part we do….except for New Years. All rules go out the door with this party. The most exciting night of the year can sometimes be the coldest night of the year. And the party ends up outside. And do we don a ski mask, goggles, gloves, galoshes, thermal underwear, winter coat and earmuffs? No. That would make the most unsexy New Year’s outfit.

Throw some alcohol into the mix and this can be a deadly combination. The CDC estimates that 1300 deaths occur each year due to hypothermia. So what is hypothermia?

What is hypothermia?

Hypothermia is a dangerous drop in body temperature and can occur in minutes. Human body temperature averages around 98.6 degrees F. But hypothermia starts setting in at 95 degrees F with shivering, increase respiratory and heart rate, and even confusion. We forget that glucose stores get used up quickly so hypoglycemia can ensue as well, making matters worse, especially in someone who is intoxicated. Frostbite can occur as blood flow decreases to the tips of the ears, fingers, nose and toes. As hypothermia progresses, the shivering and muscle contractions strengthen, skin and lips become pale, and confusion worsens. This can lead to severe hypothermia, eventually causing heart failure and/or respiratory failure, leading to a coma and if not reversed, death.

Hypothermia can mimic looking drunk

Someone who is hypothermic may slur their speech, stammer around and appear uncoordinated.  This sounds identical to your drunk buddy on New Year’s Eve. Unfortunately, this can be deadly as many hypothermic partiers get written off as being drunk.

So if you suspect hypothermia, call for medical assistance. Anyone you think is eliciting signs of hypothermia should be brought indoors, put in dry clothes, covered in warm blankets, and then wait for paramedics to arrive. It’s important to try to warm the central parts of the body such as head, neck, chest, and groin, but avoid direct electric blanket contact with the skin and active rubbing if the skin is showing signs of frostbite.

Why not use hot water to warm up a hypothermic individual?

Hot water will be too caustic and can cause burns. Remember, the body is shunting blood away from the ears, fingers, toes, hands and feet to warm the heart, brain and other vital organs. The skin will be in a vulnerable state during hypothermia and frostbite and will burn the under perfused skin.

Alcohol increases the risk of hypothermia

We’re outside in the cold, not bundling up, dancing, sweating, becoming dehydrated. Add alcohol to the mix, and its deadly. Here’s the scoop on alcohol toxicity.

Preventing hypothermia

When it comes to hypothermia, the best thing you can do is prevention. It’s the biggest party of the year so prepare yourself by doing the following:

  • Wear multiple layers of clothing.
  • Bring an extra pair of dry socks.
  • Avoid getting wet (i.e. falling off a boat, getting splashed with champagne)
  • Change your clothes if you worked up a sweat dancing.
  • Check with your medical provider if some of your medical conditions (i.e. hypothyroid) or medications (i.e. narcotics, and sedatives)  put you at risk for hypothermia.
  • Avoid alcohol intoxication.
  • Keep an eye on your more vulnerable buddies who include children, older individuals, and those with intellectual disabilities.

 

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news, her views and opinions, medical or otherwise, if expressed, are her own. Doctor Wachs is an MD,  FAAFP and a Board Certified Family Physician.  The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

Published in Health