St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are renowned for their boisterous nature. St. Patrick’s Day traditionally is marked by festivals, parades, gatherings with family and friends, and trips to pubs to enjoy merriment with others.
Even though folks want to focus on the fun and the fanfare come March 17th, it’s important to recognize that safety should come first when making St. Patrick’s Day plans.
St. Patrick’s Day is a time when the Guinness or Jameson’s may flow more readily. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that roughly 28 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes every day – that’s one person every 52 minutes. St. Patrick’s Day revelers should establish their plans for getting home prior to going out. Taxis or ride sharing services can ensure everyone gets home safely. Friends celebrating together also can select designated drivers. Celebrants also should be sure to balance their alcohol consumption with eating so they do not feel the effects of drinking too quickly, as alcohol impairs decision-making.
Safer health choices
Just when the world could see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel regarding the coronavirus pandemic, the Omicron variant spread and made celebrations less safe – eventually affecting holiday season celebrations. Since the World Health Organization named Omicron a variant of concern on November 26, 2021, it has ripped through countries and communities causing illness in both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. Health experts say Omicron is two to three times more contagious than the Delta variant, although severity of symptoms may be reduced. UNC Health infectious diseases specialist Dr. David Wohl, MD, says Omicron is not responsive to current treatments, such as monoclonal antibodies, and future variants may not be, either. This means that St. Patrick’s Day celebrants may want to gauge COVID-19 transmission in their communities and avoid gatherings with lots of people. Mask-wearing, avoiding crowded events and getting vaccinated can help reduce risk for COVID-19 infection. Choosing outdoor festivities may be much safer. Also, at-home rapid tests may help people figure out if they have COVID-19 faster so they’ll know if they can celebrate without spreading infection.
Virtual celebrations may be the norm this St. Patrick’s Day. Plan a video-conference call with a group of friends and order takeout of favorite Irish delicacies to party safely at home.
St. Patrick’s Day festivities are boisterous, but safety must play a significant role in such celebrations.