A hot toddy sounds like a great way to warm up during this bitterly cold weather, especially as you ring in the new year.
But medical experts say alcohol does the opposite — it lessens the body’s ability to keep warm.
According to the Mayo Clinic, alcohol causes outer blood vessels to expand, resulting in more rapid heat loss from the surface of your skin. Additionally, you’re less able to shiver when you’ve been drinking, and shivering is your body’s way of activating the muscles to generate heat.
Then, there’s the obvious: using alcohol or drugs affects your judgment, so you might not dress or drive properly.
Finally, anyone who gets drunk New Year’s Eve and passes out while outdoors is at serious risk of frostbite and hypothermia.
Windchills in Omaha in the wee hours of New Year’s Day are forecast around 30 degrees below zero, and exposed skin can become frostbitten within a half hour, according to the National Weather Service.
Also, with the relatively light winds and dry cold, weather experts warn that some revelers may have a false sense of security. These conditions, which are not immediately life-threatening, cause the most problems because some people don’t take them seriously enough.