9. Why is
this an issue? Well, it can lead to hypothermia, and people
have actually died this way.
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Hypothermia occurs when your internal temperature falls
below 95 degrees, to a point where your heart, nervous system,
and other vital organs can’t function normally — if untreated,
it can lead to heart or respiratory failure. Other cold-related
injuries include frostnip, frostbite, nerve damage, and loss of
appendages, Raslau says (and here’s
one example). It can happen at as high as 50 degrees
fahrenheit, but it’s much more common in lower temperatures
below freezing or 32 degrees fahrenheit.
Obviously, this all depends on how much alcohol you drank, how
cold it is outside, and how long you’re exposed to the cold,
Warren says. We’re not trying to be paranoid here or insinuate
that you’ll get hypothermia every time you step outside with no
jacket. But if you’re going to be out in the cold for more than
five minutes, or you plan to walk to and from places while
drunk, bundle up appropriately.
Alcohol-related hypothermia is more common than you think, the
experts say, especially at colleges. “People have died from
hypothermia after drinking because they don’t know their core
temperature is dangerously low, then they pass out or fall
asleep drunk outside,” Warren says. So your risk is higher if
you’re alone, since this could happen with no one noticing.