Treat Alcohol Poisoning

Edited by Train Wreck, Eng, Inukshuk, VisiHow

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Alcohol poisoning is a life threatening condition that occurs when a person has had too much alcohol to drink. It is also known as alcohol overdose, and is most common amongst college students. However, anyone at any age can be poisoned by drinking too much. Getting treatment for alcohol poisoning is critical, and can save someone's life. In many cases, the symptoms of alcohol overdose can persist for more than 24 hours. In this article we will discuss how to treat alcohol poisoning.

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What is the definition of alcohol poisoning?

As a general rule, moderate drinking is considered to be two drinks for men, and one drink for women. This has to do with the ability of a man's body to absorb more alcohol than a woman, and of course the fact that men generally weigh more than women. Alcohol poisoning occurs when a person has consumed enough alcohol to impair brain functions to the point that essential life systems stop working. These include the parts of the brain that regulate body temperature, breathing, and even heart rate, as reported by the NIH -- National Institutes of Health[1].

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Other factors that can increase a person's susceptibility to alcohol poisoning include the foods they have eaten, general health and well-being, ethnicity, and even altitude, such as being in an airplane or on a ski trip. As each of us is different, and some of those differences can vary from person to person and even from day to day, there is no guarantee that a person who regularly consumes too much alcohol won't one day get alcohol poisoning. Because of this, it's important to know when alcohol poisoning has occurred, and how to treat an alcohol overdose.

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Treatment for alcohol poisoning involves the following steps

All of these steps should always include contacting emergency medical support personnel:

  1. 1
    Arrange transportation to a hospital.
    Call an ambulance, or use a taxi if you have also been drinking. If none are available, call the police, or try to get someone who has not been drinking to take you.
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  2. 2
    Make sure he or she can breathe, and that they are on their side.
    Being on the side will prevent aspiration of vomit. Prepare yourself to deal with any vomiting that may obstruct his or her airway.
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  3. 3
    Be prepared to give Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) or Positive Pressure Ventilation (PPV) in the event their heart stops or they stop breathing.
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  4. 4
    Move any objects that can hurt or injure the person if he or she has a seizure.
    Do not attempt to restrain them. Just make sure they aren't going to be hurt by nearby objects.
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  5. 5
    Check their wallet or purse so you're able to provide essential information to the hospital or emergency care personnel from the ambulance.
    This can help save time, but it's only something you should do after stabilizing the person suffering from alcohol overdose.
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  6. 6
    If you know the person, be prepared to contact a relative or friend once you arrive at the hospital.
    If you do not know them, make sure to give your information to the emergency response personnel so they can contact you if they require further information.
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If a person is unconscious or unresponsive

Immediately contact emergency medical personnel, and take the following steps:

  1. 1
    Turn him or her on their side so they do not inhale their own vomit, also known as aspiration of vomit, which is one of the first things Princeton University recommends[2].
    This can result in death, and may also cause lasting harm to the person.
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  2. 2
    Make sure they are breathing by listening for their breath.
    Also check that they do not stop breathing or have any obstruction of the airway, such as a pillow, or even the floor.
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  3. 3
    Check for any signs of seizures.
    Try to prevent injury if they are unable to control themselves by removing things nearby that may hurt them. However, do not restrain them.
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  4. 4
    Remember to contact emergency medical personnel.
    If you are unable to contact someone, then take the person to a hospital emergency room. Sometimes the stress of responding to someone with alcohol poisoning can be overwhelming. The immediate needs of caring for them could cause you to forget calling an ambulance.
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Tips and Suggestions

  • Never leave a person you suspect is suffering from an alcohol overdose. As essential systems of the body become more impaired, the person can stop breathing and even die. It is critical that you remain by their side until emergency response personnel or an ambulance can arrive to treat them or take them to a hospital.
  • Remember that medical attention is always required. This means that even if a person is aggressive, threatening, or belligerent towards you, they should still receive medical care. One of the signs of alcohol poisoning is disorientation and severe mood changes. Don't assume someone is ok, or get angry if they insult you. Recognize that they need help, and get it.
  • If you know what the person was drinking, and especially how much, make sure to convey this information to the emergency response personnel. This can help speed up treatment, and may save their life.
  • In the event you are aware of any medications he or she takes, tell the ambulance or hospital personnel. Sometimes a medication can have adverse or bad reactions to certain treatments, and necessitate a different type of treatment.
  • Never forget that you hold this person's life in your hands. You are their only lifeline, and whatever decisions may have led to drinking too much, you need to take the rights steps to save them now. While you can take steps to help someone sober up before they have alcohol poisoning, the only thing that removes alcohol from the system is time, as reported by the College Drinking Prevention site[3].

References on How to Treat Alcohol Poisoning

  1. National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  2. Princeton University
  3. College Drinking Prevention
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See more related tutorials: Drink on Antibiotics, Drink Alcohol and Exercise, Get Rid of Alcohol Breath, Be a Designated Driver, Sleep After Drinking, DUI Fines, Drink Responsibly, Determine If You Have Alcohol Poisoning, Drink Without Getting Drunk, Eat Before You Drink Alcohol, Get Help with a Drinking Problem, and Drink Alcohol.

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Categories : Health & Wellness

Recent edits by: Inukshuk, Eng, Train Wreck

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