Combining alcohol with a cold weather could make people more vulnerable


MUNCIE, Ind. – Downing a few drinks of alcohol during cold weather could create dangerous situations, a Ball State University researcher said.

Jagdish Khubchandani, a health science professor at Ball State, said alcohol consumption may give individuals a false sense of warmth.

“This is because alcohol dilates blood vessels increasing the blood flow to limbs and periphery of the body,” he said. “While this creates a sensation of warmth in the chest and face, it causes the body to pull heat from your extremities. Generally, in colder weather our peripheral blood vessels constrict to save heat and blood flow is reduced to limbs. And, while too much of drinking may result in hypothermia, the effects of alcohol can be seen with just one drink.”

Khubchandani also said alcohol depresses the ability of the brain to properly function.

Even small doses of alcohol can slowdown reflexes and increase reaction time leading to accidents and injuries, he said.

Khubchandani also is a co-author on an international study into alcohol consumption that found drinking is down around the globe. “Alcohol use and burden for 195 countries and territories, 1990–2016,” was a collaborative effort of more than 200 scientists across 100 countries.