Know the Signs! Alcohol Poisoning 101

You may not know this, but alcohol acts like a poison in the body. That is why your body needs an hour to process each drink. Putting more alcohol into your body than it is able to process can inhibit how your body functions, and can lead to alcohol poisoning.  Some of the warning signs of alcohol poisoning may include:

  • Confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of Coordination
  • Irregular/Slow Breathing (less than 8x/minute)
  • Unconsciousness

Alcohol poisoning is dangerous, if not handled quickly and properly, it can pose extreme risks to your health and/or death. Alcohol poisoning IS a medical emergency. Do not try and guess a level of drunkenness, and if any of the symptoms above occur, call 911 immediately. It is in your best interest to keep you and the victim of alcohol poisoning as safe as possible. If the victim is already vomiting and is lying on the ground, make sure to place them on their side so that they do not choke on their vomit. Stay with the person at all times, do not leave them alone. The Good Samaritan Law states that even if you are drinking and call 911, you will not be placed in any kind of legal trouble since you are helping someone out. Remain calm when medical help is on the way, and make sure to gather proper information about the individual if you do not know them very well. This will help make the process smoother and faster.

We have all heard “they just need to sleep it off”, but it is better to be safe than sorry in a situation like this. Never be afraid to seek help- you can save someone’s life.

References:

https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/check-the-facts/health-effects-of-alcohol/effects-on-the-body/alcohol-poisoning

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alcohol-poisoning/basics/symptoms/con-20029020

Written by Claudia Miriello, Peer Educator

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