A vast majority of people consume some level of alcohol on a daily basis, all around the world. However, not many people know that alcohol is a form of poison and it can be lethal in extreme cases. Only in America, 2,200 deaths result from alcohol poisoning each year, as per the Centers for Disease Control. They roughly estimate about six deaths per day.
The most common reason for alcohol poisoning is the lack of awareness regarding the limits of alcohol the body can tolerate. Not many people know that it can take place rapidly without showing any sign in many cases. Therefore it is essential to know the symptoms of alcohol poisoning to help someone experiencing the issue.
Human liver can only process single-serving alcohol in an hour. When a person consumes the alcoholic drink, his liver has to filter out the alcohol from their his blood which is a toxin. However, alcohol processing is a slow processing system. The liver approximately processes roughly one standard drink of alcohol in a single hour which is:
1) 12 ounces of beer which constitutes around 5% alcohol
2) 1.5 ounces hard liquor like whiskey or vodka with around 40% alcohol
3) 5 ounces of wine with roughly 12% alcohol
4) Around 8 or 9 ounces of malt liquor containing 7% alcohol
As alcohol is taken in liquid form and enters the bloodstream. It carries to the brain through digestion in intestines and stomach. If an individual drinks two or more in an hour, there will be an additional unit in his bloodstream needing more time to process. The increase in blood alcohol concentration (BAC) causes negative effects on mental and physical functions. Increase in blood alcohol concentration can also be caused by rapid drinking. Higher BAC also sources halt gag reflex and abnormal breathing and starts to show symptoms of alcohol poisoning.
Alcohol processing is a slow system and even when a person stops drinking, the blood concentration level can continue to escalate for about half an hour and can have several effects. Many effects also constitute the major symptoms of alcohol poisoning including:
a) Slower brain functions affecting the sense of balance and coordination, eventually influencing other bodily systems
b) Irritates the stomach and can result in vomiting which is among common symptoms of alcohol poisoning.
c) Vomiting can also cause severe dehydration, It can lead to a critical drop in blood pressure and fast heart rate.
d) It can stop gag reflex from proper functioning as muscles lose sensitivity and harmonizing, leading the individual to choke or inhale his own vomit, causing a serious infection.
e) It affects the nerves, controlling heartbeat and breathing functions, resulting in these functions to slow down, become irregular or even stop.
f) Can lead to seizures as a result of lower blood sugar level
g) It also lowers the body temperature and can result in hypothermia
Dehydrate the body, which can cause brain damage in extreme cases
h) In terms of long term effects, alcohol is highly linked with a higher risk of cancer of stomach, lip, pancreas, throat, mouth, and colon.
i) Death is the ultimate effect administered in severe cases of alcohol poisoning which can result due to any problems listed above.
As discussed before, symptoms of alcohol poisoning are seldom visible as they take place quite swiftly. However, there are some symptoms showing when a person becomes rapidly intoxicated. It is essential to know these symptoms because if some is suffering from acute alcohol poisoning, he will not be able to help himself. Here are some of the Symptoms of alcohol poisoning include:
a) Vomiting is a symptom that is most common that people experience quite quickly in both severe and general poisoning
b) Excessive drinking can cause a person to become confused and disoriented in which a person loses the vision of reality
c) Skin also becomes cold or clammy and may also experience cold sweating
d) A heart attack is an alcohol poisoning symptom that may take place in severe conditions
e) Hypothermia is a symptom in which a person’s body experiences a drop in temperature
f) A person becomes so intoxicated that experiences an inability to stay conscious
g) Lack of physical coordination is a widely common alcohol poisoning symptom which results in an inability to walk
h) Alcohol poisoning also contribute to irregular pulse
i) Irregular, slow or depressed breathing is another symptom which includes less than eight breaths a minute roughly
j) Seizures which are uncontrollable muscle spasms and likely to occur due to blood glucose drop (hypoglycemia)
k) Choking which is likely to be caused by vomiting
l) A clear loss of bowel or bladder switch
m) Loss of bodily fluids is also among well knowns symptoms of alcohol poisoning
n) Pale skin or light blue-tinged skin, especially near the lip area and under fingernails.
o) Passing out is one of the well-known symptoms of alcohol poisoning
p) Stupor situation in which a person is conscious but is unresponsive
Not all of the above-mentioned signs require medical attention. However, as the symptoms of alcohol poisoning occur, immediately seek medical attention. In addition, to call for medical help, there are some immediate helpful measures that can help the suffering individual. Some of them are listed below for your information:
a) Stay with the person to avoid accidental self-harm and irregular gag reflex.
b) Try to keep the individual awake as much as possible to avoid the loss of consciousness.
c) You must try to inform the individual before touching for help or perform any action on him because, in such state, individual experiences a loss of reality and are likely to become aggressive.
d) Try to keep the individual sitting as physical activity can cause more damage and possibly cause more vomiting.
e) Make an effort to get the individual slowly drink water if he or she is conscious.
f) To prevent choking on their own vomit, you can roll down the lying individuals onto their side with their arms over the head and check that they are breathing properly.
g) You can cover the person with a blanket or try to warm them as alcohol poisoning causes the individuals to become and feel cold.
As there are measures to take to help a suffering individual, there are also actions that can worsen the condition. They must be avoided if symptoms of alcohol poisoning occur as these actions increase the complications. There are many mythical remedies like sleeping it off or drinking of some particular beverage or food. However, none of them is medically proven. In reality, they are more likely to cause damage than bring any positive outcome. Therefore, we have listed some measures that must be avoided.
a) If the symptoms of alcohol poisoning occur, do not leave the individual alone or unattended or sleep it off.
b) Stop the individual from consuming any more alcohol or other drink containing alcohol.
c) Do not give the person any liquid to drink except water as many beverages can further dehydrate the body such as coffee.
d) Refrain from giving any medicine because the addition of more drugs will mix in the already existent alcohol which will only worsen the condition.
e) Do not let the person walk around because lack of coordination and focus will likely to result in falls or other accidental damages.
b) Stomach cramps
Withdrawal is the best way to avoid alcohol poisoning. However, if you like to drink, the abundance of anything is destructive. Therefore, people must consider these steps to avoid alcohol poisoning including:
a) Must drink in moderation or stick to the one drink only rule for good.
b) Consume water after every drink or serving.
c) Avoid drinking on an empty stomach.
d) Refrain from mixing alcohol with other intoxicating substances.
e) Avoid social situations where you find yourself forced to drink.