ENJOYING a drink or two with friends and family over Christmas is part and parcel of the festive season.
But, if you’re going to indulge we all know the rule is you don’t ever drink and drive, as the consequences can lead to severe injury and even death.
Your best bet is to avoid booze altogether if you’re driving,
That said, lots of myths claim to help mask the smell of booze or even make you ‘less drunk’.
But one GP has warned you should never buy into this.
Speaking to The Sun, London-based NHS GP Dr Ross Perry, said the bottom line is, there is no way to cover up whether you’ve been drinking or not – and you shouldn’t try to when driving is concerned.
He said if you are driving, then the best thing to do is not drink at all.
In the UK, the law states the drink drive limit is 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, or 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath.
In Scotland the limit is 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood or 22 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, the Met Police state.
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) states that it’s not possible to convert this accurately to units of alcohol, or how many drinks that these guidelines equal, as it’s completely different for each person.
Dr Perry of Cosmedics said: “In view of drinking and driving, there is an absolute rule to not drink if you are intending to drive and there should be no exclusions or ways to try and circumvent this – whether it be drinking and having a meal or trying to find other ways of doing it in terms of a time delay.”
He added that alcohol smells on the breath, but can also come through the sweat glands on your body.
“This also is evident the morning after, particularly when people are hungover, having had an excessive amount of alcohol,” the GP said.
The aldehyde – the breakdown product of the alcohol – can seep through the body’s natural sweat process, causing a potential alcoholic smell, as well as what can be smelt on your breath, he explained.
Dr Perry added that showering, using perfume and mints may help disguise the smell to a small degree.
“However there is no bulletproof way other than to stop drinking,” he said.
The NHS states that you should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week, spread across 3 days or more.
That’s around 6 medium (175ml) glasses of wine, or six pints of 4 per cent beer, guidance states.
There’s no completely safe level of drinking, but sticking within these guidelines lowers your risk of harming your health, the experts add.
How to get help with your booze
There are plenty of helpful resources and tools to help you with your drinking issues.
Drinkline – Call 0300 123 1110 (weekdays 9am to 8pm, weekends 11am to 4pm).
Alcoholics anonymous – free self-help group that offers a 12 week plan
Al-Anon – A group for family members or friends struggling to help a loved one
Adfam – a national charity working with families affected by drugs and alcohol
National Association for Children of Alcoholics (Nacoa – helpline for children who have parents who are alcohol dependent – call 0800 358 3456
Over Christmas, many people may have more to drink than they usually would.
However, this doesn’t mean people don’t notice the amount of booze you have consumed, warns alcohol coach Sandra Parker.
She said: “A lot of people tell themselves all sorts of things to convince themselves that people won’t notice how much they have had to drink, but the reality is that they do.
“Their voices change, their expressions change, their faces become more flushed, their eyes change and become almost drooped, their reaction times change, balance can change and voice can change into almost a slur.
“And it is impossible to mask or counteract those things.
“We are less able to handle our emotions, we won’t be as sharp when speaking to people.”
Sandra, an expert at Just The Tonic Coaching, said that some people think making themselves sick is a sure-fire way to stop the effects of booze.
This might feel like a relief initially, she added it won’t do anything to take away the impact booze has on your brain.
She said: “It might temporarily relieve the nausea but that is only one of the symptoms associated with excessive drinking.
“It won’t do anything for your low mood following being sick and it won’t do anything for your fuzzy head.
“These symptoms you cannot mask with caffeine, food or anything else as nothing counteracts the level of chemicals in your body.”