Are You Wearing Green for St. Patrick’s Day?

Some nurses wear green most days.  Other healthcare professionals like me who are at least part Irish wear it on 3/17 in honor of the patron saint of Ireland.  Being also a native Chicagoan, St. Patrick’s Day is a really big deal.  Chicago celebrates with a huge parade with many participants clad in Celtic dress.  There is festive music and energetic dancing as well.  Chicago leaders even dye the downtown river green for the day.  The beloved Irish saint’s day is also celebrated in many other countries, including Japan.

Since this is an uplifting holiday for many of us, why do many ER nurses feel differently about it?  I believe, unfortunately, the dread has to do with some people over celebrating with green beer or other alcoholic beverages.  It seems holidays such as New Year’s Eve and St. Patrick’s Day and heavy imbibing go together for some who usually are moderate drinkers or even tea totalers.  Since these infrequent binge drinkers (i.e. who are indulging with five or more beers for a man or four or more for a woman) are often not in touch with how it affect them.  As healthcare professionals we know heavy alcohol intake makes the frontal lobe of the brain essentially fall asleep.  The behavior “crossing guard” as I call it, therefore isn’t able to warn someone against poor choices, such as driving while  legally drunk.

How to keep safe and have fun  while celebrating St. Patrick’s Day:

1.  Attend a parade if one is near your home or if you have little children make fun green hats or shamrocks.

2.  Enjoy a traditional corned beef and cabbage or Irish stew dinner at home or at a family style restaurant.

3.  If you really want a green beer, enjoy it with your meal.   Should you get a little carried away, make sure you have chosen a designated driver before going out who can safely drive you home.

Please have both a happy and healthy holiday!  While one green beer can be just fine, like any other CNS depressant, drinking several can cause delayed reflexes and sleepiness.  As we know overindulging is also a major cause of car accidents.

Have fun, stay safe and enjoy an uplifting St. Patrick’s Day!


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