Comment: Alcohol and water dona��t mix

THE country has seen an increase in the number of house parties where teenagers drink beer and partake in all sorts of uncouth activities.
A number of cases of alcohol and drug abuse have been reported, with some parents complaining that their daughters were subjected to sexual abuse while in drunken stupor in some parties held in major cities countrywide.
The parties continue to dominate public debate because youths keep coming up with new ideas to outdo one another when hosting such parties, and the unfortunate part is that some of these initiatives have led to loss of life, a case in point being the drowning of three young adults at a pool party at a house in Harare last weekend.

We want to remind the public that alcohol and swimming do not come together. This is because alcohol impairs judgment as it distorts your perception of risk and your own abilities. Alcohol increases risk taking behaviour. It removes inhibitions, leaving you more likely to take greater risks, even life threatening ones. It reduces co-ordination as it numbs senses, particularly sight, sound and touch leading to unsteadiness and inability to climb or swim making it hard to get out of trouble. Alcohol also impairs reaction timeA� because ita��s a depressant, reducing the rate the brain processes information.

Ordinary reactions take longer at a time when a quick response is vital for survival and in cases where one needs resuscitation, alcohol reduces the likelihood that resuscitation methods will work, online experts warn.

Experts also add that people drown while intoxicated and involved in every type of aquatic activity because alcohol produces a range of physical changes in the body including: Inner ear a�� Fluid in the ear is responsible for balance. Alcohol and a sudden change in temperature, such as when entering the water, can lead to disorientation. Hypothermia a�� In cold situations, the body will attempt to draw blood away from the limbs and to the vital organs to prevent heat loss.

Alcohol, however, prevents this and therefore increases the chance of hypothermia. Spasm of the vocal chords a�� Water in the windpipe triggers a reflex closure of the windpipe. Alcohol increases the chance that a spasm of the vocal chords will occur, snapping the airway shut and locking the airway closed.

The public should take the warning from experts and our own police seriously to desist from hosting house parties where abuse of alcohol, drugs and other ills is the order of the day. In addition, pool parties should never involve alcohol.

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