Monday, November 24, 2014

The Sobriety :60 #16 - Alcohol doesn't warm you, it increases hypothermia risk

The extreme cold temperatures bring about a warning or two about hypothermia, including the sixteenth episode of The Sobriety :60. (video) (article)

Hypothermia is a potentially fatal condition causing a change in your total body core temperature. A normal body temperature is 98.6 degrees, plus or minus one degree. But, with the temperatures as warm as 40, it doesn`t take long for your body to fall below 94 degrees.

One of the leading causes of hypothermia is alcohol abuse. When temperatures are in the 40s and lower, it’s important to wear clothing appropriate for cold weather. However, bundling up doesn’t do much to counter alcohol in the system. Alcohol gives a sensation of warmth, especially at higher concentrations. The sensation is not actual warming. Alcohol thins blood and increases blood flow near the skin. It's called vasodilation in doctorspeak. The blood near the skin cools in the extreme temperatures, leading to hypothermia.
Symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech and drowsiness. Symptoms of too much booze include exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech and drowsiness. The drunk mind says, AH I'LL BE OK. The hypothermic mind says, "WHOA, I better start shutting down metabolism and some organs."  Point is, you won't know the difference if you don't bundle up, layoff the booze or both.

Fahrenheit or Celsius, zero degrees is very unfriendly to intoxicated people. If you passed out in Orlando tonight, you`d probably get hypothermia and likely survive. If you passed out, tonight, in the Midwest, you wouldn`t survive it. It`s just the nature of it. 

Some people will drink in the cold because they think it 'warms them up.' But it can kill you.

Visit for a replay of the Bringing Inspiration To Earth show feature with Scott Stevens. Lucy Pireel's "All That's Written" included a feature on Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud called "When alcohol doesn't work for you anymore."  Details on the third literary award for Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud also can be found on, plus an interview with Scott Stevens on Health Media Now and one at Christoph Fisher Books.  Mr. Fisher is an acclaimed international author from the UK, among his works is the Alzheimer's book "Time to Let Go."