Alcohol poisoning is the result of the over consumption of alcohol. Over consumption of alcohol for any individual can result in personal injury, vomiting, choking, hypothermia, and slow breathing. A person with alcohol poisoning left untreated, can stop breathing altogether.
Signs of alcohol poisoning can resemble those of a person suffering a head injury or stroke. The first indicator of alcohol poisoning is to evaluate whether or not the person smells strongly of alcohol. Other signs of alcohol poisoning include a rapid pulse, sweaty face, deep or noisy breathing, general confusion, and a frequent tendency to lapse in and out of consciousness.
Common myths about sobering up a person with alcohol poisoning include drinking large amounts coffee, taking a cold shower, or walking it off. These are not only myths, but potentially harmful ideas. The only way to reverse the effects of alcohol is with appropriate care, monitoring, and time.
If you believe that someone has alcohol poisoning:
Get the victim to a warm and safe environment, do not let them drink any more alcohol, and do not leave them alone. Keeping an alcohol poisoning victim warm will help them avoid hypothermia. Encourage the person to stay still in order to prevent personal injury, and monitor their breathing consistently.
It is important to note that a victim of alcohol poisoning will more than likely vomit repeatedly, so it is imperative that you keep their airway clear. Doing so will help prevent asphyxiation from choking. Vomiting more than once may be a sign of head injury or other illness. However, if an intoxicated person vomits more than once and is not completely coherent, transfer the person to nearest medical facility.
If the person is unconscious, other substances may have been consumed that (when combined with alcohol) become potentially lethal. If you have any doubts as to the person’s other possible drug usage, call 9-1-1 or an ambulance immediately.
- HealthCareClinic.org: http://www.health-care-clinic.org/first-aid/alcohol-poisoning.html
- College Drinking: http://www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov/OtherAlcoholInformation/factsAboutAlcoholPoisoning.aspx