Feeds

Does drinking alcohol really keep you warm?

Four for the road

Boost IT visibility and business value

Also in this week's column:

Does drinking alcohol really keep you warm?

No! So says the Swiss Institute for the Prevention of Alcohol and Drug Problems. If the legendary St Bernard finds you stranded in the icy Alps, you would be better off hugging the hound than downing the hooch of the pooch.

Alcohol only gives a false sense of warmth, but the dog could pass along some lifesaving body heat. Even a little nip from the brandy keg will send your blood to the surface of your skin. You may feel warmer, but your blood will actually be cooled.

Many heat sensing nerves are located near the surface of the skin. Drinking can make you temporarily feel warmer. In fact, while you get the feeling of warmth from alcohol, it is really unsuitable because it allows the cold to enter the body.

Does drinking alcohol thin the blood?

No! Alcohol is a vasodilator. It causes the blood vessels to expand. This is particularly true for the tiny capillaries located just below the skin's surface. The normal thermostatic control of the body is altered by alcohol ingestion. The blood vessel dilation allows a greater amount of blood volume to be brought to the skin's surface. This facilitates heat loss and also explains why your face looks flushed when you have been drinking. But alcohol does not thin blood.

Why does drinking alcohol make you feel thirsty?

Alcohol ingestion forces the body to metabolise it in order to remain chemically balanced for proper body functioning. In doing so, the body actually draws water from body tissues. This can cause a thirsty feeling. Drinking more alcohol only makes it worse.

Is alcohol a big factor in accidents?

Yes, in accidents with injuries certainly. According to Dr Gerhard Gmel of the Alcohol Treatment Centre at Lausanne University Hospital and Dr Jurgen Rehm of the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Toronto, writing in Alcohol Research and Health (Winter, 2003): "The research evidence indicates a high level of alcohol involvement in all types of unintentional injuries. The number of drinks consumed per occasion, especially when indicated by BAC [blood alcohol concentration], is strongly associated with the occurrence of injuries, independent of the usual frequency and quantity of alcohol consumed. Drinking may be less associated with workplace injuries for various reasons, but appears to play a role in causing falls, the second most common form of unintentional injury."

Stephen Juan, Ph.D. is an anthropologist at the University of Sydney. Email your Odd Body questions to s.juan@edfac.usyd.edu.au

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
LOHAN packs bags for SPACEPORT AMERICA!
Spanish launch goes titsup, we're off to the US of A
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
TRANSMUTATION claims US LENR company
Ten points of stuff out of a five pound bag
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
BAT-GOBBLING urban SPIDER QUEENS swell to ENORMOUS SIZE
But they'd lose a deathmatch against the coming Humvee-sized, armoured Arctic ones
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?