Alcohol poisoning occurs when too much alcohol is consumed over a set period of time, resulting in seizure, coma or even death. By recognizing the symptoms of alcohol poisoning and knowing the difference between poisoning and merely passing out drunk, you can possibly save someone's life.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Learn to recognize the most common signs of alcohol poisoning before the victim loses unconsciousness. These symptoms may include excessive vomiting, as the body tries to expel the alcohol from the digestive tract, as well as stupor, confusion and seizures.
Determine whether symptoms of alcohol poisoning are present in a person who has already passed out from drinking too much. Symptoms you may recognize include shallow and infrequent breathing patterns, such as breathing less than eight times per minute or less than a single breath every 10 seconds. Hypothermia, or low body temperature, may also occur, so feel the skin of the victim to see whether her skin feels cold to the touch.
Watch to see whether the victim continues to vomit even after he has fallen unconscious. One of the leading causes of death from alcohol poisoning occurs when a person chokes or suffocates on his own vomit after he has passed out. If this occurs, turn the victim on his side immediately to reduce the chances of asphyxiation.
Try to revive the person and see whether she regains consciousness. It may be impossible to rouse a victim of alcohol poisoning, since she may have fallen into a coma.
Note any seizure activity that may happen after the victim has fallen unconscious. Seizures are one of the most common symptoms of alcohol poisoning and may be a result of brain damage caused by excessive amounts of alcohol.
Call 911 if you recognize any alcohol poisoning symptoms occurring with a person who has passed out after drinking too much. It is better to be safe and have the victim treated immediately by medical personnel than to take a chance and risk the person's death.
Tips and warnings
- Your blood alcohol level can continue to increase even after you have passed out, since it takes time for the alcohol to move from your digestive tract into your bloodstream. It is important, therefore, to constantly supervise someone who has already passed out from drinking too much to make sure he does not slip into a coma.