Alcohol impacts on the body in frigid weather

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) Many will indulge in a cocktail or two on New Year’s Eve, possibly making us feel warmer in the sub-zero temperatures and wind chills expected.  But how is alcohol really affecting our bodies in the frigid weather?

KSNT Doctor On-Call Dr. Tim Borchers explains consuming alcohol will make you feel warm because it dilates blood vessels into the skin.

“It makes you feel warm, you feel flushed but it actually impairs your ability to deal with the cold in a few ways.  Number 1, by sending blood into the skin, it takes it away from the vital organs where you need it. Number 2 it will cause you to sweat. So you have evaporated heat loss, and number 3 it can impair your ability to shiver. So now, you’ve consumed alcohol, you feel warm, but you’ve taken blood away from the organs, you’re sweating, you can’t shiver, you’re not going to manage the cold very well.”

Dr. Borchers said there’s two things you have to do, to stay safe.

“Number one, because we all say it, if you’re going to drink, drink responsibly and if you’re in the cold, dress responsibly.”


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