Summer is the best time to visit a beer garden in Japan. There are many establishments with outdoor seating, and drinking a cold beer in a gentle breeze is an irresistible combination.
However, summer in Japan can get extremely hot and humid, a dangerous fact if forgotten. Even people with a high tolerance should be careful — the Japanese summer should not be underestimated.
The Risk of Heat Stroke
As you may know, heat stroke is normally caused by the following factors:
- High temperature
- High humidity
- Strong sunlight
- Lack of wind
Did you know alcohol can also cause heat stroke?
Alcohol has a diuretic effect — it makes you go to the bathroom more often. Maybe you’ve noticed how frequently you need to go the bathroom when drinking alcohol. This increases the amount of urine the body produces which can easily lead to dehydration.
Though a sip of cold beer or wine can feel as refreshing as a glass of water, this is not the case. In fact, alcohol is not hydrating at all, and it actually drains your body of the water it needs in the summer heat. No matter how appealing a cold beer may seem in the summer, you have to keep this fact in mind and keep drinking water, otherwise you could double the risk of heat stroke.
Major Conditions of Heat Stroke
The symptoms of intoxication and the symptoms of heat stroke are similar, so it can be difficult to tell if you’re in danger or just getting drunk. However, if you experience any of the following it’s best to stop drinking right away, heat stroke or not:
- Dizziness or nausea
- Muscle pain or stiffness
- Excessive sweating
- Sudden headache
- Hot flashes or sudden numbness in your hands, feet, or legs
- Difficult walking in a straight line
- Loss of consciousness
How to Stay Safe Drinking in the Heat
Drink a Lot of Water WITHOUT Ice
On hot summer days a glass of freezing ice-water may seem like a great idea. You’re hot and you want to cool down. However, ice-cold water can be hard on your body and may cause indigestion. On top of that, people are prone to drink less water when their cups are full of ice. In the summer heat you need to compensate for the water you lose by sweating, and it’s easier to do that if you don’t need to wait for your ice to melt.
Beer lovers may feel like they can drink as much beer as they want. Maybe you have a high tolerance and you’re used to drinking alcohol. However, in addition to these factors, the way alcohol is absorbed into the stomach makes it seem like you can drink more beer than water. This is because water is absorbed in the intestine, while beer is absorbed in the stomach. This means that you won’t feel full when you’re drinking beer until later on.
Hopefully you can see how dangerous the summer heat can be. Especially in Japan where summers are humid, people can get drunk easily, but if you drink a lot of water without ice you can stay hydrated more easily. Beer is a great summer drink, but try to keep the risks in mind!