When talking about binge drinking, heavy drinking, alcoholism, or really anything that involves alcohol, the phrase alcohol poisoning gets thrown around. It’s become a sort of catchall term to refer to a very drunk individual. Unfortunately, this isn’t what alcohol poisoning is. Knowing some home remedies for alcohol poisoning could potentially save someone’s life.
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What is Alcohol Poisoning?
Alcohol poisoning, also known as acute alcohol poisoning, is when an individual’s blood alcohol content (BAC) exceeds a certain level. Although there’s no agreed-upon cutoff, it’s generally around .30% BAC that potentially fatal alcohol poisoning symptoms begin to occur.
Acute alcohol poisoning occurs because the liver can only metabolize around one drink of alcohol per hour. All subsequent drinks aren’t processed by the liver and end up directly in the bloodstream.
Signs of Alcohol Poisoning
Alcohol poisoning is a severe consequence of drinking large amounts of alcohol rapidly. However, alcohol poisoning can also happen when adults or children drink household products that contain alcohol without knowing. The most common risks of alcohol poisoning include:
- Slow breathing
- Irregular breathing
- Low body temperature
- Blue-tinged skin
- Pale skin
- Passing out without being awakened
- Central nervous system depression
- Respiratory depression
- Decreased heart rate
It’s also important to know about the many alcohol poisoning complications, which include:
- Choking on their vomit
- Severe dehydration
- Brain damage
- Heart attack
What to Do If Someone Suffers Alcohol Poisoning
If you notice any of these signs on someone, you must seek medical attention immediately—call 911 or your local emergency number for medical help. Be ready to provide information about the type of alcohol and the amount of alcohol the person drank.
Because alcohol poisoning affects the gag reflexes, you should never leave the person alone. Please do everything you can to prevent them from vomiting because they can choke. Ensure they’re always in a sitting position and try to keep them awake to avoid the loss of consciousness.
Beware of home remedies for alcohol poisoning that can do more harm than good. Remember, this is a life-threatening situation. Don’t try to ease the signs of an alcohol poisoning episode by:
- Sleeping it off.
- Drinking black coffee.
- Taking a cold shower.
- Walking it off.
All of these lifestyle solutions can be quite dangerous and don’t work to address alcohol poisoning. In most cases, these solutions can cause loss of consciousness and lead to potentially deadly consequences.
Alcohol Poisoning Treatment
If you make it to the hospital, doctors may “pump” your stomach. They’ll try to get all of the contents of your stomach out to prevent any leftover alcohol from getting into your bloodstream and exacerbating the symptoms.
Most treatments for alcohol poisoning include:
- Administering fluids through an IV
- Give oxygen to help people breathe better
- Flush the stomach of toxins
- Remove toxins from the body
- Add vitamins and glucose to prevent severe complications of alcohol poisoning
- Careful monitoring to prevent breathing or choking problems
- Hemodialysis to filter waste and toxins from the body and speed the removal of alcohol from the bloodstream
Are Home Remedies for Alcohol Poisoning Safe?
In a nutshell, no. These are myths that can do more harm than good. Alcohol poisoning shouldn’t be compared to a nasty hangover or a blackout. When this happens, someone’s system is under tremendous pressure and stress, and they could die if you don’t take the right steps.
To help save someone from an alcohol poisoning episode, make sure you follow these steps:
- Call 911 or your local authorities
- Try your best to keep them awake
- Try to keep them in a sitting position
- If they can drink something, give them some water to prevent dehydration
- If they’re unconscious, put them in the recovery position, or on their side
- Please do not give them coffee or any caffeinated beverages like sodas
- Do not lie them on their back
- Please do not give them more alcohol
- Do not make them walk
- Please do not make them throw up
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) an average of six people die of alcohol poisoning each day in the US. Almost 76% of the deaths are adults ages 35 to 64, with almost 76% of those who die being men.
Alcohol Poisoning Prevention
Practicing binge drinking can be a dangerous activity. If you’re going to drink alcohol, keep these tips in mind to prevent alcohol poisoning:
- Drink in moderation. Men should refrain from drinking no more than two drinks, and women should have only one
- Alternate alcoholic drinks with water to stay hydrated
- Never drink alcohol on an empty stomach
- Avoid drinking alcohol if you’re taking prescription medications or other drugs
- Stay away from drinking games or use of beer bongs or funnels that significantly increase the amount of alcohol you drink in a short period of time
Getting Help for Alcohol Abuse
While alcohol overdose doesn’t mean someone is an alcoholic, it might be a warning sign. If you or someone you know recently experienced alcohol poisoning after a night of binge drinking, it might be time to consider getting help.
Consider staging an intervention to discuss your loved one’s alcohol abuse. If you’re the one struggling with alcoholism, consider speaking to a therapist about your alcohol use. Alcoholism is more common than most people think. After all, alcohol is widely accepted by our society.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse, don’t wait until it’s too late. At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, we can help you conquer the battle against alcohol addiction and start walking towards recovery. Our personalized and comprehensive treatment programs give you the tools you need to leave alcohol behind and start walking the path towards a sober life filled with happiness and progress.