Spring break is right around the corner and regardless of where you go or if you drink, Spring Break behavior can get out of control fast. I am all about the fun, but it is important to know some basic safety rules. Nothing kills a Spring Break buzz like an extreme sunburn or emergency room visit.
Here are some safety tips so you can watch yourself, watch your friends, and if you can, try to watch out for those around you.
- Wear sunscreen. Five or more sunburns significantly increases your risk of developing skin cancer. Use sunscreen with at least SPF 30, UVB and UVA protection. Sweating and swimming can cause sunscreen (including water resistant) to wear off, so reapply about every hour. UV rays can penetrate clouds, so apply even on cloudy days. Avoid products that make claims that are not approved by the FDA, like waterproof, sweatproof or instant protection.
- Stay hydrated. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty because you may already be dehydrated. Heat, physical activity, and alcohol can increase the effects of dehydration, which include headaches, dry skin, dizziness and fatigue. Satisfying your thirst is not enough to ward off dehydration, so drink lots of water in the morning and before bed, enjoy snacks with high water content, keep a water bottle nearby, and alternate alcoholic or caffeinated drinks with water throughout the day. I suggest investing in a durable, 32 oz. Nalgene bottle for the beach or a hydration pack for ski or camping trips. Camelback makes a model specific for colder weather.
- Know your limits. Alcohol tolerance does not decrease you BAC, so watch your blood alcohol content (BAC) whenever drinking. Not feeling the effects of the first drink right away? Pace yourself. Alcohol absorption varies depending on your size and gender. To help you stay safe, grab a BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) card at the Wellness Center (MSC 1504) or download the Watch Your BAC app, check your BAC online, and monitor mixed drinks with this app.
- Watch what you drink. Here are a few simple rules to ensure your drinks (including non-alcoholic ones) are safe: Watch your drinks being made. Do not drink anything you are not positive is yours. Don’t accept drinks from randoms.
- Make sure you get a “yes”. Always get consent. If you’re concerned about a situation, don’t be afraid to step in. You’ll be glad you intervened. Check out REAL at USF for more info on consent and bystander intervention.