What is alcohol poisoning?
Alcohol poisoning 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. The average healthy liver is capable of detoxifying and excreting only 30 ml of pure alcohol every 90 minutes. If you drink more, alcohol breakdown products build up in your blood. Together with the bloodstream, they go for a walk through the body, harming internal organs, including the heart and brain.
Any brute force drinks over the above indicated dose is, in fact, intoxication of the body. But depending on the quantity, strength and quality of the drunk, it can be of different strength.
Alcohol poisoning is what happens to the body when too much alcohol is ingested in a short time. Such intoxication is not only unpleasant and painful, but can also be deadly.
What is an acceptable level of intoxication
These symptoms are familiar to almost everyone:
- shortness of breath, shortness of breath;
- confused speech, difficulty with logical reasoning;
- distorted vision and hearing;
- nausea up to vomiting;
- temporary darkening in the eyes.
It’s good if the matter is limited to only this. The state is not the most pleasant, but, fortunately, not too dangerous. Most often it is treated with a date with the “white brother”, time and sleep, develops into a morning hangover and leaves without a trace in 24 hours.
It is much worse if a new one is added to the above symptomatology.
When to call an ambulance immediately
Here are signs that intoxication is a serious health threat, and possibly life:
- clouding of consciousness (a person ceases to understand where he is, cannot coherently answer questions);
- severe vomiting;
- infrequent breathing – less than 8 breaths per minute;
- irregular breathing – the interval between breaths is more than 10 seconds;
- pale or blue-tinged skin;
- low (below 36.2 ° C) body temperature;
- loss of consciousness or sudden falling asleep, and the victim cannot be woken up.
The last point, combined with others, is the most dangerous. Never think that you will be able to “sleep it off”: in such a state, the risk of death increases sharply. Therefore, seek medical attention immediately.
An ambulance is also the only possible option if you suspect that you or a person nearby have been poisoned by low-quality alcohol – one in which other forms of alcohol are adjacent to ethanol. We are talking about isopropyl alcohol (found in lotions, some cleaning products), methanol and ethylene glycol (found in antifreeze, car glass washers, paints, solvents).
These substances are much more toxic than ethanol. For example, symptoms of common methanol poisoning include:
- difficulty breathing or stopping it completely;
- blurred vision or blindness – partial or complete;
- a sharp decrease in blood pressure;
- severe dizziness and confusion;
- severe abdominal pain;
- vomiting, sometimes with blood;
- loss of consciousness and to whom.
Poisoning with isopropyl alcohol and ethylene glycol has similar symptoms.
What to do before the ambulance arrives
Wait. There are very few options to help the victim. Here are the few things you can do:
- Try to keep the victim conscious. Or, if we are talking about you, do everything to stay awake.
- Do not leave someone asleep or unconscious alone. Alcohol poisoning affects the gag reflex, a person runs the risk of suffocation.
- If the victim vomits, help him. Try to plant him or turn his head to the side if he is lying down. So there is less risk of choking on vomit.
- Never try to induce vomiting on purpose!
- You can give the victim activated charcoal or other sorbent. But only if he has no problems with swallowing!
Can you reverse alcohol poisoning?
If you feel unwell after drinking, but you believe that the situation is under control and does not require calling the doctors, you can try to alleviate the condition with home methods.
- Drink plenty of water. This is necessary to reverse alcohol-induced dehydration.
- If the water won’t come out, try honey tea. Drink it in small sips to make it easier to walk.
- If you have a pharmacy rehydration solution at home, take it.
- Eat the sorbent in the required dosage. It is best to use not good old activated carbon (for the effect you will need to drink up to two dozen tablets – a dubious pleasure), but modern means.
- Take a walk. Movement will help you distract yourself and speed up the elimination of toxic substances.
- Sleep more. Symptoms of mild alcohol poisoning usually resolve within 24 hours. You just have to get through this time.
How to prevent alcohol poisoning in the future
We repeat: the main cause of alcohol poisoning is uncontrolled drunkenness. Experts from the respected research organization Mayo Clinic define it as follows: when a man drinks five or more alcoholic drinks in two hours, and a woman drinks four or more during the same period.
The concept of “one drink” (serving) is very clear:
- 355 ml of regular beer with a strength of about 5%;
- 237-266 ml malt liqueur, about 7%;
- 148 ml of wine with a strength of about 12%;
- 44 ml of alcohol with a strength of 40%.
Please note that cocktails can contain more than one serving of alcohol or take longer to process, affecting the body more seriously than pure booze.
Try in no case to exceed the above doses. Better yet, limit your alcohol intake to one drink per day if you are a woman or man over 65, and to two if you are a man under 65. Slowly enjoy the drink. This will allow you to stretch the pleasure and not hit your own body.