One interesting fact is that according to the Centers for Disease Control, every year there are 2,200 people dead due to alcohol poisoning. To count in average basis, it means that there are 6 death reports every single day. How could this happen? A lot of people don’t know the alcohol tolerance level of their body. Once they become heavy drinker and addicted to alcohol, the poisoning may happen rapidly. You can’t predict when someone is becoming dangerously intoxicated. Not only alcoholic drinks, alcohol poisoning may happen when someone drinks or inhales ethanol through household products. It’s extremely important to know the symptoms of alcohol poisoning to prevent the negative effects.
Why Alcohol Poisoning Occurs?
The situation of alcohol poisoning occurs when the alcohol intake is too much. The body can’t tolerate. Bloodstream will be affected. The situation will be worse once the brain is also affected. There are areas inside the brain that control vital functions like temperature control, heart rate, and even breathing! If we are talking about alcoholic drinks, the major cause of alcohol poisoning is the binge drinking. What is binge drinking? It is combining 4 or more drinks during 2 hours period for women. While for men, binge drinking happens when they combine 5 or more drinks during the same period. During one hour, our liver can only process one serving of alcohol. Not more than that. If there is another intake within the same period, the liver needs extra time to process it. The faster a person drinks, it means the higher their blood alcohol contentration (BAC) will be. The disorder in drinking alcohol holds 30 percent risk factor of alcohol-related deaths.
Who Suffered Alcohol Poisoning?
Mostly the frequent reports of alcohol poisoning come from middle-aged adults between ages of 35 until 64 years old. It is less likely happening to young adults. This could be due to the changes of body chemistry when people grow older. Compared to the other groups, white middle-aged men also most likely to suffer alcohol poisoning.
Alcohol Poisoning: Signs & Symptoms
1. Cooler Body Temperature
The temperature will be below the normal level, may leads to hypothermia. The severe hypothermia will have core temperature less than 28 degree Celsius.
2. Uneven or Depressed Way of Breathing
This is due to disorder in the nerves. The worse case is the breathing system will be irregular or even stop. Irregular breathing is less than 8 breaths within a minute. In extreme cases, a person might get a heart attack or cardiac arrest.
3. Disorder in Bloodstream
The liquid type of alcohol enters the bloodstream and goes to the brain
4. Digestion Process
The process inside intestines and stomach won’t be normal. Most of the time, the stomach will be in pain. While the severe alcohol consumption can lead to inflammation in pancreas, called pancreatitis.
5. Continuing Alcohol Poisoning
The effect can continue until the next day because the processes for consuming alcohol are slow.
6. The Functions of Brain
For a person with alcohol poisoning, their brain will be slower and affecting other body systems like losing sense of balance
The severe vomiting may happen due to irritation inside the stomach
8. Muscles Coordination
The muscles will lose coordination ability and sensitivity that can stop the gag reflects of a person.
9. Blood Sugar Level
The blood sugar will drastically decrease, which leads to seizures. This is called hypoglycemia, can also cause brain damage.
The body will start to dehydrate. Once the body feels it, the brain could be damaged.
11. Disorientation or Confusion
This will lead to inability to stay alert or conscious. This condition called stupor, conscious but can’t respond accordingly. The person will talk in slurred speech.
12. Reduced Vision
Alcohol poisoning can affect a person’s eyesight. Usually for a person within this situation, he will feel overdue recognition resulted in permanent lost of vision.
13. Unable to Walk
The person won’t be able to walk properly due to lack of physical coordination
14. Bad Bladder Control
The person will experience loss of bowels when the nerves lose its control ability
15. Blue-tinged or Pale Skin
You can detect this under the fingernails or around the lips, where the blood cell can’t flow properly. As the bloodstream is unstable, the skin will lose its natural and healthy color.
There are also steps that you may consider to do when someone is experiencing alcohol poisoning. Remember, the only proper way to help the person is by calling emergency medical attention. While waiting for medical help, these are tips that you can consider:
- Wrap him with jacket or warm blanket. Alcohol poisoning will make the person feel cold.
- Keep the person awake and informed that you are calling the emergency help. Whatever you will do to him, speak gently first to him to prevent aggressive responds.
- Keep the person sitting properly.
- If the person can’t sit and lying down, slowly bring him to one side, with arms around the head. This position will prevent him to choke on vomit.
- If possible, keep the person awake by talking to him or doing something to make him focus.
- If you know exactly that he can swallow, slowly give him water. Make him drink it slowly. Stop once you think that he can’t control the gag reflex.
But never do things such as:
- No medications. The combination of drugs and alcohol will make the poisoning worse
- No coffee and foods. Don’t give coffee to the person, because the caffeine will make the dehydration worse. Also when you feed the person, he may choke on the food and unable to swallow.
- No throw up. If you think throwing up is a good choice to heal the alcohol poisoning, just don’t. Remember, his gag reflex is not working and may get choked.
- No cold shower. When a person experiences alcohol poisoning, their body temperature will be below normal level. So never try to give cold shower as it may lead to hypothermia.
- No sleep. The alcohol still lingers inside the bloodstream. When someone is sleeping, he is still digesting the alcohol.
- No walking. Never attempt to bring the person for walking around. His physical coordination is weak which can lead to falling and other accidents.
When poisoned person is brought to get professional medical treatment, they will be given oxygen therapy and other steps to remove remaining alcohol inside the body. The doctors and nurses know how to filter toxins and alcohol level inside the body. Do something and take action. A person in alcohol poisoning condition can die less than an hour.