A good buzz here and there is definitely not a bad idea. However, just like with many other life pleasures, we need to pace ourselves and to know our limits. Alcohol has been associated with so many problems, both mental and physical. Let’s talk about alcohol poisoning.
Alcohol poisoning is a serious, and sometimes deadly consequence of drinking large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time. It is when there’s too much alcohol in your blood, and it causes parts of your brain to shut down. It’s also called alcohol overdose.
Cause of alcohol poisoning
How does it happen? Alcohol is a depressant. It can affect your brain and nervous system to slow your breathing, your heart rate, and other important tasks that your body does. Your liver usually does a good job of keeping alcohol’s toxins from getting into your bloodstream. But if you drink a lot in a short time, your liver may not be able to keep up.
The faster someone drinks, the higher the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) becomes. Rapid drinking can bring BAC so high that mental and physical functions are negatively affected. If BAC is high enough, physical functions such as breathing and the gag reflex (that prevents people from choking) can be affected.
Signs and symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning
A person who shows signs of having alcohol poisoning needs to be rushed to the hospital immediately. In severe cases, alcohol poisoning can lead to death. Here are some of the signs and symptoms:
- Slow breathing (less than eight breaths a minute)
- Irregular breathing (a gap of more than 10 seconds between breaths)
- Blue-tinged skin or pale skin
- Low body temperature (hypothermia)
- Passing out (unconsciousness) and can’t be awakened.
- A heart attack may occur
- Brain damage
- Slow responses (such as gag reflex)
The good news is that alcohol poisoning can in fact be treated, of course, if detected in good time. Treatment of alcohol poisoning includes:
- Giving fluids through an IV.
- Administering extra oxygen to help you breathe.
- Flushing your stomach of toxins.
- Removing toxins from your blood.
- A urinary catheter if they become incontinent.
- In some cases, the patient’s stomach may be pumped – fluids are flushed through a tube that goes down their mouth or nose.
How do you prevent alcohol poisoning? The best way to do so is to completely take it out of your diet. But since we are not all willing to let go of the great invention, there are a few things we can do to prevent its occurrence.
- Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all.
- Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Having some food in your stomach may slow alcohol absorption somewhat, although it won’t prevent alcohol poisoning if, for example, you’re binge drinking.
- Alternate alcoholic drinks with nonalcoholic ones, ideally water.
- Don’t drink while you’re taking prescription medications or other drugs.
- Don’t play drinking games or use funnels or beer bongs.
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