When someone is drinking large quantities of alcohol in a short time there is a risk of alcohol poisoning. There are various signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning but this is not something that the ‘general’ public is familiar with.
In our modern western culture binge drinking is becoming normal behaviour for a lot of young people, when going out for the night with friends. There is a growing need for awareness of the dangers of such behaviour.
According to alcohol statistics, alcohol poisoning is the most life-threatening consequence of binge drinking and the number of alcohol poisoning deaths per year is on the increase. Although being a real danger, most people do not realize this and in fact, do not bat an eyelid when they see someone vomiting in the streets after a binge drinking session.
Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning
The following is a list of the signs to watch out for to recognize the symptoms of alcohol poisoning:
A confused state of mind
Irregular and/or very slow breathing
When the body feels unnaturally cold / a sign of low body temperature
Clammy and cold or a blue skin
If the person cannot be woken up from sleep
When in the company of someone who is showing some of the above symptoms of alcohol poisoning it is important to call in professional medical help, such as a doctor or an ambulance, immediately. Do not leave the person on their own.
While waiting for the doctor or the ambulance you can do the following:
Try and keep the person awake
Try and keep them in an upright positionn – help them to sit or stand up so they cannot choke on their vomit
If they insist on laying down, make sure you lay them on their side, with their head to the side
If the person is able to drink then you may give them some water
Try and keep the person warm
What not to do in the event of alcohol poisoning:
Do not give them coffee to sober up – this will cause more dehydration
Do not put them under a cold shower
Do not leave the person to sleep it off as there is a risk of inhaling vomit and choking to death
Do not walk them up and down to help them sober up
Do not allow the person to drink more alcohol (!)
Next time you are with friends on a night out binge drinking… be aware of the signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning. At times, ignorance might be bliss but this situation is not one of them. Knowledge, however, can save someone’s life!
Binge, or excessive drinking can lead to alcohol poisoning and this can be fatal especially if your are ignorant of the symptoms of alcohol poisoning! We live in a time where many people find it hugely funny to see the behaviour of people who have consumed too much alcohol. ‘Happy drunks’ is a frequently heard turn. Every weekend the streets in the cities of many European countries show a scene of young people unable to walk street, vomiting in the gutter or even passing out. But what’s funny about the aspiration of vomit leading to the poisoning of the respiratory centre in the brain, which can result in death?
Most of us have no idea about the facts or symptoms of alcohol poisoning. Binge drinking seems to be commonly accepted in our western society but binge drinking leading to alcohol poisoning is not uncommon and most people are not aware of the dangers of alcohol poisoning and have no idea that they should you seek professional help.
The effects of alcohol poisoning are not just limited to the person suffering. Often young people express that they wish they had sought medical treatment for a friend and end up feeling responsible for alcohol-related tragedies that could have been prevented if help had been sought.
How To Treat Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning
There are many myths about sobering up. Just drink some black coffee, take a cold bath or shower or sleep it off! But these do not work! You also shouldn’t allow a person suffering from alcohol poisoning to lie down on their back or drink more alcohol. Only time can reverse the effects of too much alcohol in a body, but time is something you may not have if you are suffering from alcohol poisoning.
If you are with someone who is confused and vomiting and you notice that their breathing is slowing down or becoming irregular this could indicate symptoms of alcohol poisoning. A drop in body temperature and convulsions can also be signs.
Often these people cannot be woken up from sleep and even a clammy feeling or blue skin can be a giveaway that your friend is in need of urgent help. So what you should do is call for a doctor or the ambulance service. Stay with the person and try to keep him or her awake in an upright position if they are vomiting.
It is important that your friend is kept warm and if he or she is lying down, then put them on their side, in the recovery position, never on their back. If he or she can drink then you can give some water. Sleeping off the alcohol poisoning is not a good idea, because there is a risk of choking on the vomit. Please be aware that this is very serious. If you see any symptoms of alcohol poisoning you should seek immediate medical attention.