When someone is drinking large quantities of alcohol in a short time there is a risk of alcohol poisoning. There are various signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning but this is not something that the ‘general’ public is familiar with.
In our modern western culture binge drinking is becoming normal behaviour for a lot of young people, when going out for the night with friends. There is a growing need for awareness of the dangers of such behaviour.
According to alcohol statistics, alcohol poisoning is the most life-threatening consequence of binge drinking and the number of alcohol-poisoning deaths per year is on the increase. Although being a real danger, most people do not realize this and in fact, do not bat an eyelid when they see someone vomiting in the streets after a binge drinking session.
Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning
The following is a list of the signs to watch out for to recognize the symptoms of alcohol poisoning:
A confused state of mind
Irregular and/or very slow breathing
When the body feels unnaturally cold / a sign of low body temperature
Clammy and cold or a blue skin
If the person cannot be woken up from sleep
When in the company of someone who is showing some of the above symptoms of alcohol poisoning it is important to call in professional medical help, such as a doctor or an ambulance, immediately. Do not leave the person on their own.
While waiting for the doctor or the ambulance you can do the following:
Try and keep the person awake
Try and keep them in an upright positionn – help them to sit or stand up so they cannot choke on their vomit
If they insist on laying down, make sure you lay them on their side, with their head to the side
If the person is able to drink then you may give them some water
Try and keep the person warm
What not to do in the event of alcohol poisoning:
Do not give them coffee to sober up – this will cause more dehydration
Do not put them under a cold shower
Do not leave the person to sleep it off as there is a risk of inhaling vomit and choking to death
Do not walk them up and down to help them sober up
Do not allow the person to drink more alcohol (!)
Next time you are with friends on a night out binge drinking… be aware of the signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning. At times, ignorance might be bliss but this situation is not one of them. Knowledge, however, can save someone’s life!