The Daily Illini

Editorial: Use common sense in the cold

By The Daily Illini Editorial Board

It’s time for the painfully obvious albeit necessary editorial of the winter: Wear a coat when you leave the house.

We know that we run the risk of sounding like mothers, but there is something about college students that makes them forget about the dangers of extreme weather.

Much of this comes along with our school’s nightlife, which knows no weather limit. Sure, there is the occasional boy who will saunter to class on a below freezing day in a pair of basketball shorts, but campus bar and party hoppers are the primary offenders.

It’s understandable why some party-goers think a coat might be the wrong move. It can throw off their rockin’ outfit, be a burden to carry and keep track of and they run the risk of losing their jacket by having someone else taking it by mistake (or on purpose) at closing time.

There’s also the prevailing myth that after consuming enough alcohol, the drinker will have a blanket keeping them from feeling the cold. While yes, drunk people might not feel as cold as they would while sober, it doesn’t protect them from hypothermia, frostbite and other weather-related dangers.

Alcohol might make the body feel warmer, but you can lose heat very quickly because of the change in the dilation in your blood vessels. So, although alcohol might make faces pink, it also keeps the body from maintaining that warmth. https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/check-the-facts/effects-on-your-safety/drinking-alcohol-in-cold-weather

It seems every year there’s at least one tragic story of a college aged man or woman in the Midwest dying because of the cold when they are intoxicated.

Just earlier this month a 21-year-old woman in Wisconsin died after leaving a party drunk wearing shorts. It was more than five degrees below zero that night. And in February 2014, a Southern Illinois University student died from the elements on a cold night.

It’s the story that college students roll their eyes at every time they hear it: We’re not invincible. Although we’re young, strong and generally healthy, we’re not superhuman. 

To be hurt by something as simple as chilly weather is a waste of a young life.

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