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Are Online Blood Alcohol Calculators in Australia Reliable?

13 March, 2023

A personal breathalyser connected to a smartphone app

People use online blood alcohol calculators in Australia to estimate their Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) or intoxication level. The question is, are they reliable? Online BAC calculators give a rough estimate of alcohol content based on a person’s weight, age, and type of drink. However, they must not be relied upon for decision-making such as driving or working. In addition, there are many factors that can affect the BAC that online BAC calculators cannot take into account.

Alcohol is a volatile substance that works rapidly in the body. Within minutes, a person may feel the intoxicating effects. Therefore, it is essential for people consuming alcohol to monitor their blood alcohol levels. Fortunately, there are many efficient ways to check the BAC such as a portable breathalyser. This article will discuss how online blood alcohol calculators work, the factors affecting alcohol levels, and alternative methods to measure BAC.

Blood Alcohol Calculator in Australia: How Do They Work

People can use online tools like blood alcohol calculators in Australia to estimate their BAC level during or after consumption. It requires you to input information such as weight, age, and gender. Additionally, you will need to add the type of alcoholic beverage like wine, beer, whiskey, or vodka. Each beverage has a different alcohol concentration or standard drink. Accordingly, the higher the number of standard drinks, the higher the BAC increase.

Knowing the BAC level is vital to help avoid high intoxication or drink-driving. In Australia, it is illegal to drive with impairment. A person is subject to legal charges if their BAC is 0.05% and above. Moreover, police officers conduct roadside screening to determine intoxicated drivers. They use a police breathalyser with powerful fuel cell sensors to measure the BAC level accurately. Therefore, people want to prevent accidents or legal charges by checking their alcohol content before driving.

Online blood alcohol calculators in Australia also ask for the time you started drinking. It helps in determining how the body have processed alcohol. For instance, the body processes alcohol immediately after ingestion. However, it may take one hour for alcohol to peak in the blood and declines steadily after. In particular, the body metabolises alcohol at 0.015% BAC every hour. Therefore, combining personal factors and drink information helps estimate the BAC level.

Reasons for Checking the BAC

Alcohol screening is vital in multiple settings in Australia. People measure their BAC for the following reasons:

  • Monitor the increase or decrease of BAC every hour
  • Check the BAC before driving to ensure it is not over the legal limit
  • Measure the alcohol content before work

A woman feeling the effects of alcohol may use online blood alcohol calculator in Australia

Blood Alcohol Calculator in Australia: What Influences the BAC

The changes to the BAC depend on many variables. Many people think that alcoholic beverage alone is the sole factor. However, several factors can affect a person’s BAC, including age, gender, body type, water and food intake, metabolism, and medications. Thus, online blood alcohol calculators in Australia need this input in computing the BAC. Additionally, since these factors differ between individuals, it is unlikely for two people to have the same alcohol content.

Firstly, a person’s capacity to absorb or process alcohol tends to go slower as they age. Older people tend to have higher BAC because of the slower metabolism rate and lower volume of water in the body. Likewise, gender and body type plays a crucial role. Generally, females reach high BAC than males faster because of the differences in body composition. Moreover, a person with a higher body fat absorbs alcohol slower. Therefore, people with more fat have lesser BAC.

Secondly, alcohol metabolism and alcohol tolerance influence the increased rate of BAC. People with a faster metabolism process BAC more quickly. In addition, people with a high alcohol tolerance get intoxicated slower than those who do. Hence, it may take more alcohol amount to feel the impairment. Furthermore, these individual variables limit the accuracy of online blood alcohol calculators in Australia.

Additional Factors

In summary, these factors influence the individual rate of increase of BAC:

  • The rate of consumption in one sitting
  • The time since the last drink
  • Use of other drugs and medications
  • Type of drink
  • Drinking on an empty stomach
  • Hormone levels
  • Dehydration
  • Fatigue and stress
  • Medical conditions
  • Genetics

A compact breathalyser and smartphone as a blood alcohol calculator in Australia

Blood Alcohol Calculator in Australia: Alternatives for BAC Measurement

Online blood alcohol calculators in Australia can help individuals estimate their intoxication levels. However, due to its limitation, it is not the most reliable or efficient method. The most accurate procedure to measure the BAC is through a blood test. Blood tests require drawing of the sample with a needle for laboratory analysis. However, it is intrusive, costly, and time-consuming. Also, it is often used in medical or professional settings.

The second method is a breath test. It is a cost-effective procedure to estimate the BAC because it is fast, reliable, and non-invasive. It utilises a portable device called a breathalyser to analyse the breath sample. Furthermore, breathalysers use sensor technology to oxidise alcohol in the breath to determine blood alcohol levels. To use a breathalyser, a person blows into a mouthpiece and waits for the BAC results to display after a few seconds.

Breathalysers are handy devices that individuals can purchase and use. Additionally, it uses a blood-to-breath ratio when calculating the BAC. It analyses the breath sample from the deep lung after alcohol has been absorbed into the body. Therefore, it can estimate alcohol levels more precisely than online blood alcohol calculators in Australia. Moreover, it is also the same device used in the roadside or workplace alcohol screening. Fortunately, individuals can own similar but more affordable devices like the BACtrack breathalysers.

How to Use a Breathalyser

  • Wait 15 to 20 minutes after eating, drinking, or smoking.
  • Press the power button and wait for the signal to blow.
  • Once ready, take a deep breath and blow consistently for five seconds.
  • Wait for the BAC readings to display on the screen.
  • Wait for a few seconds before taking a retest.

Conclusion

There are several ways to measure the BAC or blood alcohol concentration. One of the simple ways is to check blood alcohol calculators in Australia online. However, it only gives a rough estimate of the BAC. Therefore, it must not be relied upon in making decisions. Additionally, many factors affect the increase of the BAC level, including age, weight, body fat, water and food intake, metabolism, alcohol tolerance, and interactions with medications.

For more precise BAC reading, a personal breathalyser is more reliable and efficient. Breathalysers analyse the breath sample to measure the BAC accurately in real-time. It gives instant results which help individuals in making informed decisions. Furthermore, there are many types of breathalysers in the market. Compact devices like keychain alcohol testers are affordable and ideal for low-volume use. Lastly, individuals needing highly accurate devices can benefit from fuel cell breathalysers.

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