You’ve just got your exam results and you’re planning on heading out tonight. The chances are that alcohol may play a part in your night, and even if you’re not drinking, some of your friends might be. So it’s important to remember to drink responsibly and know what to do if things get out of hand.
Keep in mind that if you are feeling down about your results, then alcohol might not be a good idea. Alcohol is a depressant and may add to your feelings of lowness or make you more emotional. Going out might be the last thing you feel like doing so don’t feel pressured into anything. But if you do drink, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Staying safe on exam results night
This is a night to enjoy yourself and have fun, but there are a few things you can do to look after yourself while you celebrate.
Celebrating results during COVID-19
For many students, Leaving Cert results night means going to parties with friends or going out to pubs or clubs. During COVID-19 however, your options for how you celebrate are much more limited.
While Ireland’s vaccine rollout is progressing, it’s important to remember that COVID-19 has not gone away. It is still possible to contract COVID-19, even if you are vaccinated. However, vaccination will protect you from the most harmful effects of the virus.
The virus spreads through droplets in the air. These droplets can be released through coughing, sneezing, talking, singing, shouting, or laughing. At a social gathering, there is a much higher risk of the virus spreading, especially if the gathering takes place indoors. If you meet up with friends, it is important to continue to take health precautions. Read more about how to protect yourself from COVID-19.
If you have not yet been vaccinated or are worried about COVID-19, it might be better to arrange a small gathering within the guidelines, where you can keep socially distanced.
What to do if you’re a close contact
If you celebrate your results with friends and later discover that someone in your group tests positive for COVID-19, it is important to know what to do next. Taking the right steps can help to protect you and those close to you from COVID-19.
If you are a close contact of someone who tests positive for COVID-19 and are experiencing symptoms, you will need to self-isolate at home and arrange to have a COVID-19 test. You will need to do this even if you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have had the virus before.
If you are a close contact and you are not experiencing symptoms, you will only need to self-isolate at home and get tested if you are not fully vaccinated. If you are fully vaccinated, you do not need to take these steps, unless you have an underlying condition.
Of course, it is important to keep a close eye on your health if you find out that somebody you were with has tested positive for COVID-19. If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, self-isolate and get tested as soon as possible.
Think about what you drink
Not everyone will be drinking on exam results night and you shouldn’t feel pressured into it just because your friends are. But if you do decide to consume alcohol, avoid mixing your drinks. It will only increase the chances of you getting more drunk and sick the morning after.
Although you may want to pre-drink to spend less money, if you drink too much before going on a night out you increase the risk of becoming sick or being refused access into clubs or bars. It is better to pace yourself while drinking throughout the night to be able to make the most of the experience.
Alcohol affects people differently
Alcohol affects everyone differently so even if you drink the same amount as your friends it does not mean that you will react in the same way. There are many things which will affect how easily you get drunk such as how fast you drink, your age, your weight or your gender. For more information about how alcohol affects different people visit askaboutalcohol.ie.
Drink water and eat food
Before you go on a night out it is important to make sure that you eat. Although you may want to get drunk, not eating will not help you to enjoy your night more but increase your risk of becoming sick or forgetting parts or all of the night. Eating after drinking will also help reduce your hangover the next day.
When drinking or on a night out drinking water will also help to reduce your hangover the next day and enjoy your night for longer. If you feel sick or too drunk on a night out drinking water will help to sober you up and allow you to stay alert and safer.
How to help a friend who is drunk or high
If your friend starts to appear quite drunk, it might be a good idea to keep an eye on them. Stick with them if they leave the room or the pub, and encourage them to go home with you if you think they’ve had too much. You could also suggest going for food or to get some air.
If they pass out, put them in the recovery position, and get help from someone in the club or bar, or call an ambulance. Find out how to help a friend who is drunk or how to help a friend in a drug emergency.
If you bring them home in a taxi, be sure to roll down the window and have the taxi driver be prepared to pull over in case your friend vomits. If your friend is high and having a bad reaction to drugs, try to keep them calm and reassure them that the effects will wear off. Bring them somewhere with low lights. If you need to call an ambulance, be honest with the paramedics about what they have taken, because this information will help them to treat your friend.
Tips for staying safe
- Don’t accept any drinks from strangers
- Try not to leave your drink unattended in general, if you have to go to the bathroom, make sure a friend is there
- If you’re getting a taxi home, make sure you set aside enough for the fare home
- Let your guardian know where you might be, in case of emergencies and let them know what friends you’ll be heading out with
- Make sure your phone is topped up in case you get lost or separated from friends
- Have a place organised to meet up if you get split up from your friends
- Trust your instincts and if you feel uncomfortable, leave
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