As north India braces for 'severe' cold wave, here's why IMD is asking people not to drink alcohol
Photo Credit: PTI

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), which has predicted "severe" cold wave in the national capital and several other parts of North India, has urged residents of India’s northernmost states to protect themselves from the biting cold by avoiding alcohol.

According to the IMD, severe cold wave conditions are likely in parts of Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, and Rajasthan from December 29 onwards. The maximum temperature is also forecast to fall by 3 to 5 degrees Celsius after December 28.

What does the IMD's latest advisory say?

In its latest impact-based advisory, the IMD said "severe" cold wave is expected over North India from December 29 and there is an increased likelihood of various illnesses like flu, running nose or nosebleed which usually set in or get aggravated due to prolonged exposure to cold.

"Don't drink alcohol. It reduces your body temperature," the advisory read. "Get indoors. Eat vitamin-C-rich fruits and moisturize your skin regularly to counter the effects of severe cold," it said.

The IMD also asked citizens to avoid or limit outdoor activities, but at the same time, maintain ventilation while using heaters at home “to avoid inhaling toxic fumes”. “Take safety measures while using electrical and gas heating devices,” it added.

Kuldeep Srivastava, the head of the regional forecasting centre of the IMD, told PTI that the mercury will increase slightly on Sunday and Monday under the influence of a fresh Western Disturbance affecting the upper reaches of the Himalayas, but the relief will be short-lived.

The Western Disturbance will lead to “scattered to fairly widespread” snowfall in Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. After the wind system withdraws, cold and dry northerly or northwesterly winds from the western Himalayas will bring the minimum temperature in north India down by three to five degrees Celsius, he said.

Why IMD has asked people not to drink alcohol?

Drinking alcohol during extreme cold weather puts one’s health at risk. As per a study conducted by the United States Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, alcohol can decrease the core temperature of the body and increase the risk of hypothermia during cold exposure. Hypothermia causes a person’s body temperature to decrease by over 2 degrees Celsius, which can be dangerous.

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