Spring Break Safety

March 8, 2006

Contact: Jenny Savage (505) 272-3651


In March the college student species become restless and saddle up for their annual pilgrimage to warmer climates. Spring break has become synonymous with a week of relaxation swimming in sunshine and booze. And though the week away can only do good for the mental sanity of students, spring breakers should take note of simple precautions to stay safe this year.


According to a recent study, 75 percent of college males and 43.6 percent of females reported being intoxicated on a daily basis during spring break. It's important to be savvy to surroundings and know that adding alcohol depletes this awareness significantly. Alcohol, often not thought of as a drug, is one of the most misused drugs in the United States and affects drinkers differently depending on age, gender, physical condition, amount of food eaten, and other drugs or medications taken. Women typically absorb alcohol into the bloodstream faster and metabolize it slower than men.

Slow respiration (breaths) of eight or less per minute or lapses between breaths of more than eight seconds or a pulse rate of under 40 beats per minute are indicators of alcohol poisoning. This is usually accompanied by unconscious or semi-consciousness, cold, clammy, pale or bluish skin and a strong odor of alcohol. People exhibiting any of these signs should receive immediate medical attention. In the meantime, it is important to gently turn the intoxicated person on their side to prevent aspiration should the person vomit.

There are a variety of date rape drugs which act as extremely strong, quick acting sedatives that are easily dissolved in liquid, causing victims to pass out and often erase their memory. The best way to avoid date rape drugs is to make sure you keep control of your own drink: pour it, keep tabs on it and don't accept an open drink from anyone. Remember that the most common and underrated date-rape drug is alcohol.


Living in a bathing suit for days on end sounds great but the sun is powerful, even on a cloudy day. Apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, paying special attention to the face, nose, ears and shoulders, and reapply after swimming and sweating. Avoid sun exposure during the hottest hours of the day, wear light weight, light colored clothing, and drink plenty of water, non-carbonated, non-alcoholic drinks, even in the absence of thirst. Electrolyte drinks are good for replacing both water and minerals lost through sweating. Heat stress is indicated by high body temperature (103 degrees F), a distinct absence of sweating, hot red or flushed dry skin, a rapid pulse, difficulty breathing, constricted pupils, and dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting and confusion. Individuals exhibiting these symptoms should get out of the sun and seek immediate medical assistance.

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