Recently, a University of Minnesota college student had all of her fingers, her two thumbs, and most of her toes amputated. After a night out with friends, she played drinking games, did shots, and later was dropped off at her house. Unfortunately, for an unknown reason, police believe she stumbled back outside of the house, and eventually ended up on her neighbor's porch. She spent the night outside in the below zero temps, causing her hypothermia and frostbite. The frostbite was so severe that it led to the amputations and her continued stay in the hospital (over a month already). To read more her situation, click here.
The winter is especially biting, and while we're lucky not to live in a place that drops below zero too often, we can still be mindful of ways to be safer while out this winter.
When alcohol is thrown into the mix of going out, it can throw a few more concerns up. If you're thinking of drinking, try to stay in the blue zone. This means, sticking to about 1 to 2 drinks an hour with water in between each one. If you want to warm up, try having a cup of tea or even hot chocolate (it is winter after all). In terms of warmth, don't be fooled by the warmth that comes from alcohol. “When you drink, it dilates the peripheral blood vessels near your skin, which means more blood – and heat – flows to these vessels,” says Professor Colin Drummond, head of the Section of Alcohol Research at King’s College London. “That takes blood and heat away from the core of your body. So while it feels like you’re warm because your skin is warm, your vital organs aren’t as warm as you might think they are." This can lead to hypothermia, particularly if a person tries to walk outside for a while or gets stuck outside as the young woman in the story above did. Lastly, be sure to stay with the group of friends you came with-- be accountable to each other and check in with each other throughout the night, as well.
Winter doesn't mean the end of going out, but there are ways to do so safely. Have fun, stay warm, and party safer.