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Nairobi is rife with entertainment spots and night life. One only needs some excuse to party, and there are lots of places catering for all sorts of budgets. Few stop to think about potential health effects of hard partying.Binge drinking is the extreme, and is defined as taking lots of alcoholic drinks in a very short period of time, or with the aim to get drunk.

There is no such thing as completely safe drinking, but research has defined relatively safe alcoholic levels beyond which untoward health effects increase exponentially.

A single unit of alcohol is the alcoholic amount an average person can process in an hour. This means that within one hour, there should be little or no alcohol detectable in the blood, though this varies from person to person. A single unit of alcohol roughly equates to half a pint of beer, a small glass of wine or one measure of spirits. Research recommends not more than 3 to 4 units per day for men and 2 to 3 units per day for women. Following any heavy drinking, alcohol should be avoided for the next 48 hours.

Walking into any pubs in Nairobi will give a very worrying picture. Tables tend to be full of alcoholic drinks way beyond recommended units, with unending cycles of new orders. Within short periods of time, Nairobi drinkers are way beyond what research has defined as binge drinking: more than 8 units of alcohol for men, and more than 6 units for women in a single drinking session!

Health consequences of binge drinking are worrisome. Individuals lose control, and make risky decisions impulsively. Drink driving, unsafe sex and intoxication of illicit drugs come into the mix, adding fuel to an already sickening situation. Binge drinkers have a higher risk of heart attacks, and can suffocate and die instantly from their own vomitus. In the longer term, there is ongoing risk of liver disease, fertility problems, hypertension and increased risk of certain cancers.

Can Nairobians help themselves with hard partying? The answer is yes. When out in a party mood, pace your drinking, don’t drink more than you are used to, and certainly don’t aim to get drunk. Avoid entertainment spots with endless drinks promotions, all they do is encourage you to spend more hard earned cash, drink more and get unhealthier.

The so called Mututho laws do very little to discourage binge drinking. Promotion of healthy drinking habits should be the norm, especially among young adults who are the main culprits. Safer drinking habits mean more productive Nairobians, and a healthier county.

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