Give Now

A Moment of Science

Cold Heart, Warm Hands, and Alcohol

Does drinking an alcoholic beverage make you warmer? Find out on this Moment of Science.

Contrary to popular belief, alcohol does not make you warmer. It may give you the feeling that you’re getting warmer, but that’s just an illusion: really, alcohol makes you more susceptible to the cold.

In cold weather, the body reacts by routing blood away from the skin toward the internal organs. This prevents loss of heat through the skin and maintains the core temperature. But, alcohol reverses this effect by making you flush red.

This flush makes you feel warm for a few minutes, but you are really losing heat through the skin to the cold air. You could lose enough heat to begin hypothermia and not even realize it. As your skin feels warmer, the core body temperature is becoming colder and colder.

Stay Connected

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from A Moment of Science:

Support for Indiana Public Media Comes From

About A Moment of Science

Search A Moment of Science