Myth: Drinking Alcohol Will Warm You Up
- Survival Situation: Freezing, Possible Hypothermia
We cannot really blame people for being confused about this one, as it is one of the survival myths that technically makes sense. Yet alcohol does not exactly warm you up the way you think. There have been cases where rescue teams bring some type of alcoholic drink with them, but their use of the drink actually makes sense. Why does it not in other situations? It comes down to how blood operates in the human body. Alcohol makes you “feel” warmer as you drink it because your brain cells are telling your blood vessels to expand in an effort to get rid of the “extra heat.”
The expanding blood vessels allow you to feel warmer as blood flow is increasing beneath your skin. This is the same sort of thing that happens when you get too hot and begin to sweat. Since your skin-surface blood vessels are dilating to cool you down, you feel warmer because that blood feels like an extra layer. Sadly, this will not last for long. Your body is trying to cool itself and the alcohol will cool your core body temperature much faster after short-term warmth. Rescuers can give it because you’re being taken back to a warm place anyway, so it does not matter if your body temp cools down then. It WILL be an issue in a survival situation.