Staying safe while drinking in the cold

Medical professionals at Mayo Clinic give some advice for those who may be consuming alcohol at Socialice this weekend in Rochester.

Posted: Feb. 8, 2018 11:37 PM
Updated: Feb. 9, 2018 8:10 AM

ROCHESTER, Minn.- Socialice is this weekend in Rochester and those at The Downtown Rochester Alliance tell KIMT that they expect to see about 40,000 people over the span of the weekend attend the event.

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However, doctors at Mayo say that consuming alcohol in the freezing temperatures is something to be cautious about.

In a statement to KIMT, Dr. Jeahan Colletti who is an emergency medicine physicial at Mayo Clinic stated the following:
"Drinking alcohol in cold weather can pose significant health risks. Because alcohol causes dilation of blood vessels in the limbs, it causes increased blood flow to the limbs, causing people to develop a false sense of warmth. The greater the blood flow to the limbs, the greater the risk of hypothermia as the body’s core temperature falls as a result. Alcohol also impairs the body’s ability to shiver, which is one of the body’s protective mechanisms to combat the cold. Drinking alcohol in the cold can be especially harmful to those with heart disease as this false sense of warmth can cause people to underestimate the strain that the cold puts on the heart, including elevated blood pressure, heart rate, and an increased risk of heart attacks. Alcohol can also impair judgment. This might cause failure to take appropriate preventative measures such as wearing warm clothing, hats, and gloves, which can increase the risk of cold-related injuries. Impaired mental awareness can also limit the ability to recognize symptoms of significant cold exposure.”

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