Alcohol doesn’t just cause the artery walls to relax. Alcohol also causes the blood vessels in the skin to expand. When blood vessels widen, relaxation of smooth muscles within the vessel walls of large veins, large arteries, and smaller arterioles occurs. This is known as cutaneous vasodilation. Vasodilation usually occurs naturally when the body is too hot. During vasodilation, warm blood flows to the surface of the skin so that heat can be lost to the air. This is the last thing that a person that is working in cold temperatures wants to happen.
Needless to say, the body’s ability to warm itself in the cold temperature is inhibited. The muscles of the body are not able to contract and shiver. When a person shivers, his or her muscles continuously expand and contract. This cannot occur appropriately during cutaneous vasodilation. Therefore, people that work in temperatures that are below five degrees Celsius should be advised not to drink alcohol in excess.