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5 Ways on How to Avoid Alcohol Poisoning

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Alcohol poisoning is a dangerous – and at times fatal – result of consuming large amounts of alcohol in a short amount of time. The dangers of the condition go far beyond getting a hangover, as it can have serious health consequences and could even lead to coma or death. 

Needless to say, misusing alcohol should be avoided at all costs. One can avoid alcohol poisoning by mainly drinking in moderation and keeping in mind other important tips such as staying away from drinking games, keeping hydrated, eating before drinking sessions, avoiding drug-alcohol interactions, and maintaining vigilance while drinking. 

Alcohol poisoning symptoms may range from mild to serious and can be triggered by certain factors. The causes of alcohol poisoning include binge drinking and high blood alcohol levels, but other risk factors also exist, such as one’s age, gender, body size or weight, and other health conditions. 

1. Stay away from drinking games

Participating in drinking games may seem like harmless fun at first and is prevalent among many young people. However, these activities tend to distract players and as their competitive nature surfaces, they forget how much alcohol they have already consumed.

Often, there is also peer pressure involved, which encourages players to drink heavily. Staying away from drinking games keeps you away from its hidden dangers, such as risky behavior, aggression, alcohol poisoning, and a higher risk of developing alcohol use disorder.

2. Keep hydrated

Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it causes you to pee more frequently than when you had the same amount of water. Therefore, its diuretic effect on the body can contribute to the loss of vital fluids and electrolytes. Severe cases of dehydration may also result from alcohol poisoning. That said, one of the best practices to prevent the effects of dehydration while consuming alcohol is to drink plenty of water before and during a drinking session.  

3. Don’t combine alcohol and medication

One of the most important alcohol poisoning self care tips is to avoid drug-alcohol interactions. A major reason medications and alcohol do not mix is that alcohol can make medications less effective or worsen their side effects. At the same time, certain medications, including over-the-counter drugs and herbal remedies, may contain varying ingredients that can react with alcohol. Mixing alcohol with medicines may put you at risk of alcohol poisoning and even death. Talk to your doctor or local pharmacist if you are not sure whether it is safe to consume alcohol while taking a prescribed or over-the-counter medication.

4. Eat first

Having food in your stomach before drinking means that alcohol stays longer in the stomach and that it gets absorbed by the small intestine more slowly. This minimizes the side effects of drinking and avoids potential alcohol intoxication, injuries, or even death in the worst cases.

5. Maintain vigilance

Staying alert while drinking is an alcohol poisoning self-care tip that encourages a person to maintain self-awareness on their alcohol limit, so they can make decisions with a clear head. Remaining vigilant helps an individual drink safely and reduces the risk of alcohol-related harm.

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What is Alcohol Poisoning?

Alcohol poisoning is a serious health condition that occurs when so much alcohol enters the bloodstream that it shuts down regions of the brain that controls important body functions, such as breathing, temperature control, and heart rate. 

Also known as alcohol intoxication, this dangerous consequence of binge drinking does not discriminate among different types of alcohol and may happen whether you choose to drink wine, beer, or hard liquor. 

Who is Most Prone to Alcohol Poisoning?

Statistics show that the ones who are most prone to alcohol poisoning are white males aged 35 to 64. However, just as the condition does not discriminate between types of alcoholic beverages, it also does not discriminate between people. 

Other risk factors for alcohol intoxication include a person’s age, size or weight, alcohol tolerance, drug use, overall health condition, and most recent food intake.

What causes Alcohol Poisoning?

The major causes of alcohol poisoning are binge-drinking and a high blood alcohol level. Binge drinking is a pattern of excessive alcohol consumption that occurs when a man consumes five or more drinks within two hours. For a woman, it is four or more alcoholic beverages at around the same time. 

In connection, binge drinking is also defined as heavy consumption of alcoholic drinks that brings blood alcohol levels between 0.08 and 0.40 percent. The level of impairment involved in alcohol poisoning symptoms and causes tends to increase as the blood alcohol content (BAC) of the afflicted person gets higher. Needless to say, if your BAC reaches dangerous levels, alcohol poisoning treatment at home may not be recommended because it is a serious medical condition that warrants immediate medical attention.

What are the Signs of Alcohol Poisoning?

The signs of alcohol poisoning include pale and/or bluish skin, confusion, vomiting, abnormal breathing, loss of motor coordination, slow responses, extremely low body temperature, and difficulty remaining conscious.

Some alcohol poisoning symptoms and causes may start mild and then gradually worsen, while others are more serious. It is worth noting that one does not have to display all the signs and symptoms mentioned in the preceding paragraph before seeking medical help on how to treat alcohol poisoning. 

In particular, breathing that has slowed down to fewer than eight breaths a minute and being unable to wake up are signs that a person needs emergency medical attention.

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How Can You Tell If Someone Has Alcohol In Their System?

Due to the effects of alcohol on the body, the outward signs of intoxication may be more obvious than you realize. The signs of alcohol intoxication are listed below. 

  • A noticeable smell of alcohol on the breath: Drinking alcohol can leave a strong odor that does not only linger on your breath, but also your clothes and even skin pores. The smell of alcohol also tends to stay for hours after heavy drinking.
  • Slurred speech: Excessive alcohol consumption can significantly impact one’s ability to communicate orally. The changes caused by alcohol in speech production are often referred to as slurred speech. This is often the most common indication of alcohol intoxication that police officers and doctors first recognize.
  • Lowered inhibitions: Alcohol loosens you up by reducing your inhibitions. This increases the possibility of being exposed to alcohol-related risks and dangers, such as conflicts, fights, violence, and even legal problems.
  • Memory loss: Heavy alcohol use can hurt memory function and be one of the main signs and symptoms of alcoholism. It can damage day-to-day and long-term memory by slowing down functions of the brain that play a role in forming and maintaining memories. Alcohol poisoning cure for people whose memories have been affected by excessive drinking may involve thiamine supplementation.
  • Significant personality changes: People under the influence of alcohol often experience personality changes. These changes are mainly due to the mood-altering effects of alcohol. Unfortunately, binge drinking can also exacerbate mental illness symptoms and its lingering effects can contribute to psychological disorders such as anxiety and depression.

How to Tell if Someone has Alcohol in their System?

  1. Poor concentration
  2. A confused mental state
  3. Difficulty with muscle coordination
  4. Slowed reaction times
  5. Engaging in risky behaviors

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How is Alcohol Poisoning Treated?

Alcohol poisoning is treated by first determining the patient’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level and the severity of their symptoms. After that, treatment options usually involve careful monitoring until their alcohol levels drop. 

Because alcohol poisoning is a condition that requires immediate medical attention, treatment is typically done in a medical setting. Alcohol poisoning remedies may include an intravenous drip to prevent dehydration, oxygen therapy, stomach pumping to get rid of toxins, and the use of nutrients like thiamine or glucose to avoid further complications of alcohol poisoning such as permanent brain damage. 

In some cases, medications may also be used to stop seizures. Blood filtration or hemodialysis is another procedure that can be done to filter alcohol and its metabolites from the blood.

What Should You Do If Someone Has Been Poisoned With Alcohol?

If you suspect someone has been poisoned with alcohol, call 911 for help immediately. You do not have to wait for the person to show all the signs and symptoms. It is also important to know that if the person is unconscious, they might be at risk of dying, so do not leave them alone

Another advice on what to do for alcohol poisoning is to gently turn them onto their side in case they vomit in order to prevent choking. Do not try to reverse the effects of alcohol poisoning on your own, as it is a serious condition that requires medical intervention. Doing things that do not work may worsen the situation. 

Most importantly, stay with the unconscious person until emergency personnel arrives.

Is Alcohol Poisoning Dangerous?

Yes, alcohol poisoning is dangerous. It is not just a bad hangover but a medical emergency that can result in complications such as choking, brain damage, coma, and even death if left untreated. Prompt medical care is imperative if alcohol poisoning is suspected to prevent these complications from occurring. 

If you think someone is showing signs of alcohol poisoning, please do not put off seeking emergency medical care.

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