What Happens to Your Body When You Get Alcohol Poisoning?
Alcohol is a depressant. It depresses nerves that control involuntary actions such as breathing and the gag reflex which prevents choking. A fatal dose of alcohol stops these functions.
Alcohol, when consumed excessively, will irritate the stomach causing vomiting. There is a danger of choking on vomit. An unconscious person can aspirate vomit, which can cause death by asphyxiation.
A person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) can continue to rise 30 to 90 minutes after a person has stopped drinking.
Critical Signs of Alcohol Poisoning
- mental confusion, stupor, coma, or the person cannot be roused
- slow breathing (fewer than eight breaths per minute)
- irregular breathing (10 seconds or more between breaths)
- hypothermia (low body temperature), bluish skin color, paleness
Care for a Person with Alcohol Poisoning
- Assess the situation knowing the critical signs listed above.
- Do not leave the person unattended.
- Place the intoxicated person on their side.
- Do not try to sober the person up by giving the person food, coffee, or a cold shower, or by trying to get the person to move around.
- Do not wait for all symptoms to be present before calling for help.
- Be aware that a person who has passed out may not just sleep it off. There is a serious risk that:
- The person could choke on his/her own vomit.
- Breathing could become slow, irregular or stop.
- Heartbeats could become irregular or stop.
- The person could suffer from hypothermia (low body temperature).
- The person could become hypoglycemic (too little blood sugar), which can lead to seizures.
- Untreated severe dehydration from vomiting can also cause seizures, as well as permanent brain damage or death.
Remember: Time can be a factor in saving a person’s life. When in doubt about a person’s safety call Public Safety at ext. 2222, or 911 for immediate assistance. Don’t hesitate to ask for help. If you are feeling concerned, chances are good you should be concerned.