We’re currently in the middle of a ‘heatwave’ making the UK hotter than in most parts of the Mediterranean.

Temperatures are expected to hit 35 degrees, hot enough to trigger health warnings from the Met Office and Public Health England

It’s estimated that nearly 3 in 10 of UK adults drink more alcohol when the weather gets warmer*.

A cool alcoholic drink may seem like a good way to chill out and relax on a hot day but there are many potential downsides.

We want you to make the most of the wonderful weather. So if you do choose to drink alcohol, keep in mind the following 5 top tips to help you stay safe in a heatwave.

1. Drink within the limits

A survey from Opinium Research revealed that when the mercury rises we drink an extra 333 million pints of beer and 67 million more litres of wine**

The summer evenings are lighter, there are more events such as weddings or festivals and getting together with friends or family is more likely to be suggested.

The best way to ensure you enjoy yourself is to know your limits and not drink above the government’s lower risk guidelines for alcohol (3-4 units a day for men, 2-3 units a day for women).

You can check exactly how many units you’re drinking and easily record your drinks on the go using our free Drinkaware: Track & Calculate Unitsapp.

2. Drink plenty of water

Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it encourages the kidneys to lose extra fluid. That is why you go to the toilet much more when you drink alcohol. For every 1g of alcohol you drink, urine excretion increases by 10ml.

Alcohol can also has the effect of making you sweat more. The combination of sweating more in the heat and going to the toilet more regularly means you could lose more fluid than you take in and become dehydrated.

Dehydration can cause headaches, dizziness, sickness, tiredness or heat exhaustion. In extreme cases severe dehydration due to alcohol poisoningcan cause brain damage. It is also one of the main causes of a hangover.

A tip is to drink plenty of water or soft drinks in between alcoholic drinks to try to prevent dehydration.

3. Don’t drink and drive

If you’re drinking alcohol, avoid it too close to bedtime. On average it takes an hour to process one unit, but this can vary widely from one person to another.

Just because you’ve been to sleep, it doesn’t mean you’re not affected by alcohol. You could still be over the limit the morning after drinking.

4. Avoid swimming

The Drowning Prevention Charity, RLSS UK state that about a quarter or all adult drowning victims have alcohol in their bloodstream***

While going for a swim may seem like a good idea to cool off on a hot day, please don’t enter the water if you’ve been drinking.

Alcohol can work on the brain to lower inhibitions which can impair your judgement making you more likely to take risks.

Alcohol slows down your reactions making it more difficult to get yourself out of trouble. It also numbs the senses, particularly sight, sound and touch making swimming difficult.

The RLSS UK also urge people not to walk home near water after a night out as alcohol can affect your co-ordination which could make you more likely to fall in.

5. Enjoy an alcohol-free mocktail

Finally, you can enjoy a delicious refreshing drink to quench your thirst on a hot summer’s day that’s completely alcohol-free.

If you’re drinking out many bars and restaurants now sell a range of ‘virgin’ or alcohol-free drinks. If you’re having a drink at home take a look at our mocktails made easy step-by-step instructional videos.

Drinkaware

Drinkaware is the UK's leading alcohol education charity. We're here to reduce alcohol-related harm by helping people make better choices about their drinking.