The India Meteorological Department asked residents of Delhi and five other states to avoid consuming alcohol, in view of the severe cold wave conditions that are expected to prevail in parts of north India from December 28.

In an impact-based advisory issued on December 25, the weather department predicted cold wave to severe cold wave conditions over Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and north Rajasthan from December 28. A “cold day” is when the minimum temperature is less than 10 degrees Celsius and the maximum temperature is at least 4.4 degrees Celsius below normal, while a “severe” cold day is when the maximum temperature is at least 6.5 notches below normal.

As a result, there is a higher possibility of various illnesses like flu, running nose or nosebleed which usually set in or get aggravated due to prolonged exposure to cold, IMD said. “Don’t drink alcohol, it reduces your body temperature,” the advisory added. “Eat vitamin-C-rich fruits and moisturize your skin regularly to counter the effects of severe cold.”

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.