Crouse Health Online: Wellness is just a click away.
Share Share
  |  Connect with Us: 
large
med
small
Text Size
 

Health News



Another New Year's Hazard: Drunk Walking

Another New Year's Hazard: Drunk Walking

12/31/12

MONDAY, Dec. 31 (HealthDay News) -- With New Year's Eve approaching and champagne set to flow, cautionary messages about the perils of drunk driving abound. But this year one trauma expert addressed a far less publicized concern: drunk walking.

According to Dr. Thomas Esposito, of Loyola University Health System in Maywood, Ill., the pitfalls related to inebriated mobility -- with or without wheels -- stem from the fact that "alcohol impairs your physical ability, period."

"Every movement ranging from driving a car to simply walking to the bathroom is compromised," he said in a Loyola news release. "Alcohol impairs your judgment, reflexes and coordination. Alcohol is nothing more than a socially acceptable, over-the-counter stimulant/depressant and, especially during the holidays, alcohol is frequently abused."

More than a quarter century spent as a trauma physician -- currently as chief of the division of trauma, surgical critical care and burns -- has given Esposito a firsthand view of exactly where walking drunk can lead.

"From July 2009 to June 2010, 105 people were treated at Loyola after being struck by cars," he said. "Fifty-five had their blood alcohol content checked. Of those, 16 individuals, or 29 percent, were found to have had some level of alcohol in their system. Thirteen individuals, or 24 percent, had blood-alcohol concentrations at or above 0.08 percent, the accepted level for intoxication."

The somewhat under-the-radar issue has been tracked by numerous organizations, including the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which noted that as recently as 2008, nearly one in four pedestrian deaths among people aged 16 and older involved patients who had blood-alcohol concentrations above 0.08 percent.

When looking at nighttime and early-morning deaths, that figure increased to 53 percent.

"If they had been driving and were stopped by police," Esposito said, "they would have been arrested for driving under the influence."

"It's not just walking outside," he added. "We often see people who have been drinking that have fallen down the stairs or tripped at home and injured themselves. Others have unwisely chosen to 'get into it' with guns, knives, bottles and fists."

To lower your risk, Esposito advises that when drinking is in the cards, avoid wearing dark clothes and walk in groups so as to be more visible to cars when crossing streets. Party hosts, he added, should take responsibility for ensuring that drunk guests not be left on their own to walk home, and be offered the opportunity to sleep it off if necessary.

"If their mode of transportation is a car, you do things to prevent them from driving, such as calling them a cab or finding them an unimpaired chauffeur," he said. "If that mode of transportation is their legs, then you either drive them -- assuming you're not impaired -- or make them stay at home with you."

More information

For more on drinking and New Year's, visit AAA.

Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

OF INTEREST:
 

Latest News

Crouse Hospital First in Region to Use New da Vinci Xi Surgical System
more >

MedEx Bedside Prescription Delivery Service

Free service offers convenience, patient education at discharge.
more >

CrouseSports Express After-Hours Ortho Care

Immediate care of orthopedic injuries in kids and adults.
more >

Weight Loss Surgery

Is it right for you? Attend a free information seminar held twice monthly.
more >

Quality at Crouse

See how Crouse Hospital strives to provide the best in patient care.
more >

Cheer Up That Special Someone

Say get well or welcome a new arrival with a gift purchased right at Crouse.

more >

Make an Online Donation Now

Your donation of any amount helps support Crouse services & programs in a meaningful way.
more >

Shop Online Now

Say get well, thinking of you or welcome new baby with a unique gift from the Crouse Gift Shop.

more >