Shreveport, La (KTAL/KMSS) — Across the U.S., 22 states are under oppressive, record-breaking heat, and Labor Day celebrations often include drinking a few alcoholic beverages out in the sun which could lead to health issues.

Did you know you should moderate your alcohol intake, especially in the sun? Research reveals consuming alcohol increases the risk of sunburn and skin cancer.

According to the study, after drinking alcohol the UV light it took to burn the skin was significantly less.

However, sun drunkenness is more than applying sunscreen and ‘slip, slop, slap, sleek, slide’.

National Weather Service map of U.S. showing all the states under heat advisories. Created: 08/25/2023 at 17:34
National Weather Service. Over 130 million Americans’s effected by various heat advisories.

What is Sun Drunk?

According to LSU Health Shreveport, Clinical Assistant Professor Kabiul Haque, “sun drunk” combines intoxication, dehydration, heat drying the skin, fatigue, lightheadedness/dizziness, and weakness.

“Drinking under the sun is more worrisome because drinking can cause dehydration, especially alcohol, as it dehydrates the body,” says Dr. Haque, “Drinking under the sun can worsen dehydration because people sweat a lot and get dehydrated much faster. So drinking under the sun is a combination effect.”

Dr. Haque says he sees many patients with acute kidney injury mainly due to dehydration, sun drunkenness, and severe heat illnesses.

He says when your body becomes dehydrated – from alcohol or general dehydration – the sodium and potassium levels (electrolytes) become imbalanced.

“And when people sweat a lot, their sodium gets depleted – and sodium is an important electrolyte. It can get depleted under the sun and with alcohol.”

How to avoid it?

Dr. Haque says the number one thing is to stay hydrated.

He says the four electrolytes, sodium, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus, are essential to avoid the effects of sun drunkenness.

If possible, drink in moderation, alternating with water, staying in the shade and on a cooler surface.