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Alcohol can complicate cold situations

By Scott Zoltan, KECI Reporter, szoltan@keci.com
Published On: Dec 06 2013 11:02:08 PM MST
MISSOULA, Mont. -

For many, drinks and football go hand in hand, but tailgaters may want to remember, there’s a negative effect when you drink and stay out in cold weather. NBC Montana stopped by the Missoula Club Friday evening to quiz customers on what can happen when you drink in the frigid temperatures Western Montana has been experiencing.

Customers Dick Barrett and Brad Owens both knew the right info.

“Any notion that alcohol warms you is an illusion,” said Barrett. “Maybe temporarily you'll feel a little warmer but in the long run you’ll feel colder.”

The warm feelings that alcohol can provide could be deceptive. Alcohol dilates blood vessels, and more blood flows to the vessels, bringing feelings of warmth along with it. However, it draws from your body’s core, so, your skin could be warm but your insides could be much colder.

“It makes you colder, thins everything out,” said Owens. He was at the Missoula Club with his three sons, and they’re all planning to rough it in the cold at Saturday’s football game at Washington Grizzly Stadium.

“We’ll probably just drink moderately tomorrow…Maybe something with hot chocolate,” said Owens.

Experts say one drink could start to bring a body temperature down. Alcohol can also prevent shivers, which is one way a body works to generate heat when the weather’s cold. There’s also the issue of dehydration.

Owens had this advice for folks also heading out to the game, especially if they are visiting and aren’t used to the cold Montana weather:

“Just be careful [with] how much they drink, and just dress for it more than anything, for the cold weather and stuff tomorrow.”