Cold weather shouldn't freeze your fun this winter. Staying inside would be a disservice to the wide array of arctic activities offered in the Upper Peninsula. But mixing cold with alcohol can make one dangerous cocktail.
Dr. John Lehtinen warns snow goers, although drinking may make you feel warm, you're actually putting your health at risk.
"You feel flushed, you feel warm, you feel that initial warm feeling from drinking alcohol. But the reality is you're taking more blood to the periphery, and the risk is that you've lowered the core temperature of your body. There's a risk for potential hypothermia," noted Dr. Lehtinen.
In essence, you are tricking your body. Alcohol acts as a vassal dilator, forcing your blood vessels to open wider. This elicits a greater flow from your core and vital organs to your extremities, taking the form of a miniature heat wave.
Drinking in the elements won't automatically land you in the hospital. Consider a couple factors that directly relate to hypothermia. The colder it is, the greater the risk, so make sure you've accounted for the wind chill. Wear lots of layers, especially on your arms and legs, for those longer outdoor stints, like football games.
"You've got some crazy nuts out there that don't have anything. They're not wearing anything, just bare skin. I think those are the people that are at the most risk for hypothermia or frostbite," Lehtinen added.
Sitting idly in the stands or alongside your ice fishing hole lowers your core temperature considerably. Physical activity, like running in place or even dancing, will help you maintain a healthy balance.
While most natives know their limits by now, doctors recommend three to four drinks at most to avoid any serious complications.