Safety is our primary concern at Life Saver Pool Fence. In today’s blog, we’re going to explain the dangers of combining alcohol and swimming. We’ve briefly touched on this subject before in our blogs about hot tub hazards.
This week, the hazard of alcohol and swimming has hit the mainstream press. Dolores O’Riordan, the lead singer of The Cranberries, was found dead back in January.
Originally there was some wild speculation as to the cause of her death. Now, it was reported that London Inner West’s coroner has ruled her death as an accident. It was caused by alcohol intoxication and drowning. O’Riordan was 46 years old.
Alcohol and water can be a dangerous combination, whether it is a pool, lake or even, like in O’Riordan’s case, a bathtub. This tragedy should stand as a reminder that we all need to beware a false sense of security while swimming and being near the water while drinking alcohol. Water safety must be carefully taken into account.
The Dangers of Alcohol and Swimming
Over our last few posts, we’ve taken a deeper dive into the health benefits and hazards of swimming. Swimming is a wonderful exercise, but we must be careful to understand the dangers associated with it. Drinking while swimming can greatly increase the threat severity you are facing. Even while watching your children in the pool, alcohol may distract you or slow your instincts if your assistance is needed.
Drinking Can Lead to Poor Judgment
Obviously, everyone knows that being under the influence can impair your judgment. However, just like driving a car while drunk… you also shouldn’t go for a dip.
One of the most common ways people get injured while swimming stems from poor decision making. While drinking, your coordination and depth perception will be negatively affected. Alcohol and swimming is often listed as one of the most significant risk factors for incidents of drowning. This can lead to trouble, including:
- injuries from diving into shallow water
- misjudging the depth of the water or strength of a current
- blacking out and slipping under the water
- you may even swim in places where the local wildlife isn’t very friendly
This is just the beginning. Drowning is a danger to everyone, but young men should take extra precautions. You see, the Journal of Community Health reports that young men are actually more likely to drown than women. This alcohol and swimming risk is highest in men between the ages of 18 and 34.
Watch Your Body Temperature
A lot of people love relaxing in a hot tub with a glass of wine. Sadly, this is quite a dangerous action. Alcohol combined with the spa’s hot water can make you drowsy. This has led to many people falling asleep and accidentally slipping under the water.
It’s a serious risk factor, so if you’re heading to the hot tub, be sure to skip the alcohol. Of course, be aware that this is a concern in any body of water. However, the risk is higher in a hot tub due to the increased temperatures.
On the other end of the thermometer, alcohol can also promote hypothermia. In cold water, your blood will typically be diverted from the limbs to your vital internal organs. This is a natural bodily feature to help us conserve heat. Mixing alcohol and swimming prevents this protective function from starting.
This means that your temperature can dip surprisingly low in cold water before you realize what has happened. To make matters worse, hypothermia doesn’t stop when you hop out of the water. You’ll still be in danger until you get your temperature back to normal.
Don’t Drink and Swim
These are just a few of the ways that alcohol consumption can be dangerous to swimmers. For your own safety, don’t drink and dive. Alcohol and swimming may sound like a fun idea, but it can quickly become a deadly mistake. For your safety and the security of every person in your pool, hold off on the drinks until everyone is safely away from the pool area. You’ll be glad you did.