Here’s Why IMD Has Advised People Against Drinking Alcohol In North India During The Cold Wave

The IMD shared a list of suggestions to prevent an adverse reaction to the cold wave, one of which was avoiding alcohol as it "reduces your body temperature."

An advisory on the adverse weather conditions across northern India was released by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), asking individuals to remain indoors.

Noting that from December 28, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and northern Rajasthan will be hit by a “severe” cold wave, the weather department asked people to “avoid alcohol”.

The IMD has said in its advisory to don’t drink alcohol, stay indoors, eat vitamin-C-rich fruits and moisturize your skin regularly to counter the effects of severe cold.

Drinking Alcohol During The Cold Wave

Why did the IMD tell people not to drink alcohol?

In extremely cold weather, consuming alcohol makes you vulnerable, according to experts, which is why the IMD has asked people not to consume it. Experts say that drinking alcohol “may give a false sense of warmth and heat” but lowers the temperature of the body.

According to a study conducted by the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, drinking alcohol can impair the capacity of the human body to shiver in extremely cold weather.

“People feel warm, so they don’t put on gloves, they don’t dress appropriately and then you take that to the extreme when people drink to a terrible excess, they [can] pass out in the snow outside,” said Accuweather, quoting Dr. Michael Dick of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

How does your body temperature drop with alcohol?

Alcohol is a vasodilator, which means that it relaxes and dilates or expands blood vessels. So the amount of blood carried to the skin’s surface increases after drinking alcohol, making you feel warmer as a result. This is what causes an intoxicated person to look flushed, too.

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You also begin to sweat as the body starts to assume that it is warm, a reaction that lowers the total body temperature immediately. Drinking large quantities of alcohol will impair the ability of your body to properly feel the cold, which is in place to protect you against frostbite and hypothermia.

Experts say, however, that drinking moderately in temperate environments does not change the body’s core temperature significantly.

Safety Tips For Cold Weather

  • Eat foods rich in calories and drink hot drinks
  • Stop doing activities that can easily exhaust you
  • Always cover your ears, face, hands, and feet
  • Use alternate alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks
  • If you have to go out on a drive, carry a winter survival kit in your car.

Cold Wave to reach India Soon

From December 28, the IMD has said that a “severe” cold wave will hit north India and there is an increased possibility of various diseases such as flu, running nose, or nosebleed that typically set in or get worse due to prolonged cold exposure.

The head of the regional forecasting center of the IMD, Kuldeep Srivastava, said the mercury would increase marginally on Sunday and Monday under the influence of a fresh Western disturbance affecting the upper reaches of the Himalayas, but the relief would be short-lived.

The Western Disturbance in Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand will result in “scattered to fairly widespread” snowfall.

Cold and dry northerly or northwesterly winds from the western Himalayas would bring the minimum temperature down by three to five degrees Celsius in north India after the wind system withdraws, the IMD said.

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