Alcohol poisoning is a dangerous complication that requires immediate medical assistance. Intoxication may occur when you went on a binge or drunk accidentally substances that contain alcohol. Either way, the negative effects of alcohol intake can be severe, causing both immediate and late complications.
Most people with alcohol intoxication will experience a wide range of symptoms ranging from mild to more severe symptoms such as passing out. Alcohol intoxication can actually lead to death.
Up to 88K deaths in the US from 2006-2010 were as a result of excessive alcohol usage.
Symptoms of alcohol intoxication include severe impairments to decision-making abilities. You should also know the other signs and symptoms of acute alcohol intoxication in order to make the proper action to avoid a tragedy. We have highlighted the most common symptoms:
- Heavy and erratic breathing,
- Slurred speak,
- Loss of balance,
- Loss of consciousness,
- Pale and cold skin.
Because the symptoms of being poisoned by alcohol can be debilitating, knowing what to do in such cases is useful. Whether you find yourself in such a situation or maybe you’re trying to help your friend who has been binge drinking, you will find the following tips very useful.
How to Help Someone With Alcohol Poisoning
When alcohol poisoning occurs, the best thing is to seek medical attention as soon as possible. However, because rushing to the nearest hospital or calling a medic may take some time, you can attempt to do the following things while waiting:
1. Check If The Person Is Conscious
Check if the person is responsive either to speech or pain. Even though the speech may not be so clear, if it is present, it is a sign of consciousness. If the person fails to respond to either speech or pain (for example, pinching), it may be a poison sign of unconsciousness.
2. Change The Position Of The Person
Try to put the person in a sitting position or use the Bacchus maneuver to place the person on the side. The main goal of doing this is to avoid the person from choking on vomit. Do not try to make the person to stand or walk.
3. Avoid Giving Coffee
Do not give coffee to a person who has alcohol poisoning as this may make the condition worse. Instead of giving coffee, you can give him or her some water. Giving medications may also harm the person and should be avoided.
4. Keep The Person Warm
Alcohol intoxication usually leads to hypothermia, a condition in which a person loses heat. This is a potentially fatal problem that may cause the body to shut down. To avoid this, cover the person with a blanket while waiting for help to arrive.
5. Stay With The Person
While waiting for help, stay with the person throughout. Try to assure him or her that everything will be okay. Even though you may panic because of fear of what will happen, try to stay as calm as possible. With calmness, you will be in more control putting you in a better position to help your friend.
And once medical help arrives, treatment and alcohol poisoning cure have to be given immediately. In cases of mild intoxication, only observation is required. However, for people with more serious symptoms the following may be required:
- Gastric lavage – a tube is placed in the person’s stomach through the mouth and evacuated the alcohol.
- A tube may be placed in the mouth or nose to assist the person with breathing.
- Intravenous lines may also be used to administer fluids, glucose, and vitamins which will help to improve the symptoms of alcohol intoxication.
- In severe cases of the alcohol overdose, especially, if someone takes methanol, dialysis may be performed to avoid damage to the kidneys from occurring.
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What Are the Effects of Untreated Alcohol Poisoning?
We already know that alcohol intoxication is a medical emergency. But what happens when a person doesn’t receive treatment? So many complications may arise:
- Suffocation due to vomit blocking the airways,
- The person may stop breathing,
- The heartbeat may stop beating completely,
- Severe hypothermia may develop,
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) may occur,
- Seizures may arise due to lack of glucose or prolonged vomiting.
Moreover, if symptoms persist, it can give you permanent brain damage or other serious diseases. In the worst case scenario, the alcohol overdose can lead to death. To avoid this, you should seek medical attention as soon as you see that a friend or a family member has alcohol poisoning symptoms.
Any substances containing alcohol should be placed far from the reach of children. As soon as you notice some of the signs of alcohol poisoning, do not hesitate and call for medical help. And always stay near the person until the medical help arrives!