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Health officials warn dangers of excessive alcohol consumption during extreme heatwave

Posted at 4:00 PM, Jun 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-01 13:08:43-04

KALISPELL — With 90° temperatures over the 4th of July, many people will want to cool off with a cold beverage but health officials are warning that consuming too much alcohol while out recreating can be dangerous.

Health officials are warning the public of the dangers of consuming too much alcohol while out recreating in lakes and rivers during this extreme heatwave.

Both alcohol and the sun cause dehydration and the two mixed together during an extreme heatwave while out recreating can cause severe dehydration and confusion.

Logan Health Trauma Coordinator Joy Fortin says alcohol is a diuretic, which is troubling during heat waves because the body is losing fluids at a high rate.

She said those out in the water should limit their time in the sun and be considerate of their alcohol consumption.

“I know everybody wants to have a good time, 4th of July is right around the corner but please be mindful, hydrate as much as possible with non-alcoholic beverages, and then use those alcoholic beverages sparingly while you’re out in the sun and recreating,” said Fortin.

Fortin said extreme heat mixed with alcohol can lead to severe confusion. That can be extremely dangerous, such as if parents are not paying attention to small children in cold water.

“Spending long periods of time tubing without being able to get out of the water is not necessarily good especially for young children, they have a higher tendency to suffer from hypothermia from cold water even when it’s hot outside,” said Fortin.

Flathead County Sheriff Brian Heino told MTN News additional law enforcement will be on patrol this weekend looking for drunk drivers.