While some Bobcats stay inside warming up by a fire with a cozy blanket, others will take to the bars for a different sort of blanket — at their own risk.
Though drinking might provide a warm feeling, commonly referred to as a “beer blanket,” drinking in extreme cold can be dangerous because of an increased risk of hypothermia.
Alcohol raises users’ blood alcohol level, causing a warm feeling, but downing drinks actually lowers the core temperature of the body by increasing blood flow toward the skin and away from organs, according to The New York Times. In other words, those who drink might feel the fabled beer blanket and not realize how cold he or she is getting and risk hypothermia.
Drunk behavior is also a risk, as those who become too intoxicated could fall asleep or stay outside too long, which was even thought to cause death and severe frostbite during a 2012 cold spell in the Ukraine, according to USA Today.
“Obviously we want people to be safe and not slip on the ice or anything like that,” said Clark Benson, bartender at Jackie O’s Pub & Brewery, 24 W. Union St.
Even with bars open and some university buildings operating, it is dangerous to walk around in the subzero temperatures, let alone drink. In order to close the university, it takes a lot of planning and consideration, as well as extreme temperatures, which students should take seriously, said Dean of Students Jenny Hall-Jones.
“Hopefully people will stay inside,” she said.