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Alcohol, cold weather might be bad New Year's Eve combination, researcher says

Posted at 1:07 PM, Dec 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-31 14:07:48-05

MILWAUKEE — On New Year’s Eve, the low temperature in Milwaukee is expected to be in the mid-20s.

A few drinks and cold weather might be a dangerous combination for many partygoers, a Ball State University researcher says.

Jagdish Khubchandani, a health science professor at Ball State, says 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 in a news release. “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, a co-author of an international study about alcohol consumption that found drinking is down around the globe, also says alcohol depresses the ability of the brain to function properly.

Small doses of alcohol can slow reflexes and increase reaction time, leading to accidents and injuries, he warns.