GREEN BAY - With temperatures around zero, safety officials say you should think twice before drinking and heading outdoors.
"It's important to remember alcohol impairs your ability to make rational decisions," said Lt. Kevin Warych with the Green Bay Police Department.
"Drinking alcohol gives you a misconception that you're warm when you actually aren't," said Lisa Koehler, a registered nurse at Aurora BayCare.
Koehler says alcohol dilates the blood vessels close to your skin, pulling warmth away from your core's vital organs. She says that makes it more dangerous for an intoxicated person to be out in the cold versus someone who is sober.
"It's a mechanism your body has to make sure the blood flow goes to the vital organs to keep you warm when the weather is cold and when you drink alcohol it takes that protective mechanism away and puts you at a much greater risk for hypothermia," said Koehler.
Koehler says Aurora's ER usually sees an increase in alcohol-related hypothermia cases when there is a large outdoor event in the area.
Green Bay police officials didn't have official data on hand, but say people tend to drink inside when temperatures reach frigid levels.
"From generally speaking, the calls for service tend to be more for inside residences, inside businesses versus outside in the public where as we'd see more disturbances in the summer in a more outdoor area, versus inside a house or something like that," said Warych.
Police recommend if you are going to drink outside that you plan ahead and have someone responsible on hand to make smart decisions.
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