09:01pm Thursday 20 February 2020

Keep an eye on your drinking as well as the BBQ this summer!

Enjoying the summer means taking care of yourself and others and, if you choose to drink, staying within safe alcohol limits. 

Owen O’Neill, PHA Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement Manager (South East) and drugs and alcohol lead, explained: “Some people tend to drink more when they are on holiday, or think that only those seen as ‘heavy drinkers’ need to take care. Staying within the safe drinking limits is important for everyone who drinks, excessive and binge drinking can have lasting effects on health, such as damage to the liver, heart, brain and stomach. Drinking too much can also increase the risk of accidents and antisocial behaviour as well as sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancy”.

Daily alcohol limits are recommended by the government in order to avoid the risks of excessive and binge drinking in any one session. These are:

No more than 3 to 4 units of alcohol a day and no more than 21 units over the course of the week.

No more than 2 to 3 units of alcohol a day and no more than 14 units over the course of the week.

Examples of units:

  • Can of extra strong lager – 4 units
  • Bottle of lager – 1.5 units
  • Small pub bottle of wine – 2.25 units
  • Pub measure of spirits – 1.5 units
  • Pint of stout – 2.5 units
  • Pint of cider – 3 units

Remember, that for each unit you drink over the daily limit, the risk to your health increases. It’s important to spread the units throughout the week – you can’t “save up” your units for the weekend or your holiday. It is also important to drink plenty of water, ideally matching the amount of alcohol you have consumed.

So drink sensibly and enjoy your summer.

For further information on sensible drinking and alcohol units visit the Public Health Agency’s website www.knowyourlimits.info

Notes to the editor

For further information

Contact PHA Press Office Tel: (028) 9031 1611

  • The Public Health Agency takes the lead on the DHSSPS New Strategic Direction for Alcohol and Drugs 2006–2011.
  • A booklet to help parents talk to their children about alcohol, You, Your Child and Alcohol, is available from GP surgeries, pharmacies, Post Offices and from the publications section on the PHA website, www.publichealth.hscni.net

If you do drink alcohol:


  • Ever drink and drive
  • Drink on an empty stomach
  • Drink in rounds as this may speed up the frequency of your drinking pattern
  • Leave your drinks unattended


  • Take sips rather than gulps
  • Alternate each alcoholic drink with a non alcoholic drink eg water or a soft drink
  • Set yourself a limit and try to stick to it (refer to daily alcohol limits)
  • Take frequent breaks from drinking to give your body time to recover
  • Tell friends and family where you are going and who you will be with

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