Summer is well and truly here and if you have a season of weddings, christenings, barbecues and garden parties to look forward to, you should face them knowing how to drink alcohol in hot weather and stay safe and well.

Know your limits

People drink more alcohol in the summer – the nights are longer, there’s more social events and it’s just great to round off a day with a cold beer or Pinot Grigio on the porch, right?

The US has guidelines for safe drinking and the lower risk guidelines say that women shouldn’t have more than one drink a day, and men no more than two. This is the lower guideline, however, with the other guidelines stating that three or four drinks every now and again won’t do any harm. If you know you’ll be partying on two nights in one week, avoid alcohol the rest of the time.

Drink lots of water

Alcohol is a well-known diuretic – it stimulates the kidneys, making you go to the bathroom more. With each gram of alcohol, you lose an extra 10ml of water.

Alcohol can also make you sweat more, which helps to dehydrate you, so the combination of more bathroom trips and sweating can leave you dehydrated. Dehydration can cause severe headaches, nausea, dizziness and disorientation. It also concentrates the alcohol in your bloodstream, which can be dangerous and even fatal. At the very least, it can give you a killer hangover, so drink water or a soda in between each alcoholic drink.

Don’t drink and drive

This doesn’t just mean leave the bar and drive home. You need to be careful the next day, too. It takes one hour for you to process alcohol, so if you get home in the wee small hours, don’t assume that five hours’ sleep and a gallon of water will take you under the limit, as it may not. Calculate how many units you’ve had and start the clock after your last drink, not your first, just to be safe.

Don’t swim

A cool dip might seem ideal on a hot day, but it becomes dangerous if you’ve been drinking, with alcohol involved in many drowning deaths.


You can be less inhibited after drinking, which can make you take silly risks and alcohol can also make your reactions slower once you get into trouble.

Try a mocktail

Try a fancy alcohol-free drink once in a while to keep your fun and fluid levels up. Lots of bars now have “virgin” cocktails and it’s easy to prepare your own at home.