If a night in A&E is what you fear, go easy on the Christmas beer

Thursday, 15 December 2016

As the festive season gets into full swing Christmas parties and celebrations mean the alcohol is likely to be flowing.

For many people the celebrations may result in feeling a little groggy the morning after but for some festive drinking can cause more of a hangover.

From injuries suffered while under the influence to the effects of too much alcohol, Christmas parties can lead to people needing the services of the Emergency Department, adding to the other pressures that winter brings.

North Bristol NHS Trust's Alcohol Team said many people do not know how many units there are in their drinks

Some may suffer minor injuries as a result of falls or fights while others may suffer more serious injuries or alcohol poisoning

The Alcohol Team at Southmead Hospital supports inpatients, outpatients and those who come in through the Emergency Department, where alcohol might be a factor in their reason for coming to hospital or is picked up as having an impact on their health.

They can provide alcohol screening, advice and support for patients who need to cut down or stop their drinking for health reasons and also refer them onto other services that may be able to help them.

As well as supporting people in the hospital, the team is also keen to raise awareness about the impact alcohol can have on health and how many units there are in drinks.

The team is keen to raise awareness of how many units there are in drinks as it is thought many people drink more than they realise.

A standard glass of wine contains 2.1 units while a can of beer is 2 units.

The team also reminded people that it takes the body an hour to process each unit of alcohol and that it is important to bear this in mind before driving the morning after a Christmas party.

The Alcohol Team at North Bristol NHS Trust has some tips for people at their Christmas parties

North Bristol NHS Trust Alcohol Nurse Specialist, Ryan Quinn, said: “We want people to enjoy their Christmas and have a good time during the festive period and aren’t telling people not to have a drink.

“But by being more in control of your drinking, knowing how many units you have had, alternating with soft drinks and having alcohol free days you should be able to enjoy the Christmas parties while also reducing your risk of harm and helping your long-term health.”


Have a glass of water before you start drinking, and alternate between alcoholic and soft drinks.

Go for smaller-sized drinks. A small glass of wine instead of a large one, or a bottle of beer rather than a pint.

Choose a lower-strength option (ABV).

Have alcohol free days each week.



Small glass of wine (125ml) – 1.5 units

Large glass of wine (250ml) – 3 units

Pint of lower strength beer/ cider – 2 units

Bottle of beer/ cider – 1.7 units

Alcopop (275ml) – 1.5 units

Single small shot (25ml) of spirits – 1 unit

If you drink too much and have a hangover you probably don't need the support of emergency doctors and nurses. Rehydrating your body will help and over the counter painkillers should ease your headache. Find out more tips about curing hangovers here.