Alcohol is known for having an adverse effect on our body; it could cause grave damage to the liver and brain. Alcohol produces a relaxation or dilatation of the blood vessels which ramify through the skin. The dilatation is because of the alcohol which causes a slight paralysis of the nerves which control the size of the blood vessel hence allowing them to distend a little. As a result of which our body temperature is lowered. A consequence of this is that more blood reaches the surface of the body and more heat is radiated or conducted away.When alcohol is consumed 20% of it goes directly into the stomach and the remaining 80% is absorbed by the small intestine. In case one experiences a warm feeling after consuming alcohol, it is because of the fact that this flow of blood to the surface warms the skin and the ends of the sensory nerves in the skin. These convey to the brain a sensation of warmth. This sensation is illusory the body is not actually warm on the whole. The discovery of alcohol consumption having an effect on our body temperature was first announced by Dir B. Ward Richardson in 1866 to the British Association.
There are no facts or evidence that can show that alcohol has any special effect on body heat or temperature directly. However indirectly it may to a small extent favor muscular restlessness by weakening the control exercised by the brain. The popular belief that alcohol consumption is good to keep out the cold does not therefore have much evidence. Hence it is alright to consume alcohol in small quantity or for a short period to avoid the chill.Alcohol consumed in large quantities when the exposure is likely to be prolonged could prove dangerous. This is because of the warm sensation which may be produced masks the perception of the real effect, which is generally cooling the body. Sometimes alcohol consumption could prove beneficial for instance if a body has been chilled by exposure to cold such as immersion in cold water. When the patient is wrapped in a blanket and then given alcohol it will prove beneficial since the liquid by promoting the return of blood to the surface can now assist in the absorption of external heat and thus help restore the body temperature back to normalcy.
Submitted by M T on January 14, 2010 at 08:17