Whether you’re enjoying cocktails while socializing, wine at dinner, or champagne on New Year’s, alcohol is easily intertwined with the holidays.

Depending on the person, there can be a fine line between drinking too much and drinking a dangerous amount. Alcohol poisoning is a serious, and sometimes fatal, consequence of consuming large quantities of alcohol in a short time frame.

If someone celebrates too hard this holiday season, they may need your help. Review the points below and then pass this along to your friends and family to keep everyone informed and safe during the holidays!

Risk factors

Alcohol affects everyone differently, so what may land one person in the hospital, might be manageable for others.

Here are some of the many variables that can lead to alcohol poisoning:

  • Someone’s tolerance to alcohol
  • The percent of alcohol in the drinks
  • The person’s size, weight, and BMI
  • The contents in their stomach (if they’ve eaten prior to drinking)
  • If they’re combining alcohol with anything else (drugs, medications, etc.)
  • The amount of alcohol and the time it’s taken to drink it
  • Their overall health

Children can also get alcohol poisoning from accidentally drinking alcohol or household products that contain alcohol.

The Signs

Someone with alcohol poisoning may show one, a few, or all these symptoms:

  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of motor functions
  • Slowed breathing (8 or fewer breaths in a minute)
  • Breathing irregularly (more than 10 seconds in between breaths)
  • Pale or blue-colored skin
  • Hypothermia and low body temperature
  • Going unconscious
  • Not being able to be woken up

What to do

It’s not necessary to have every symptom listed above before you get medical help. Especially if someone is having breathing issues or they’re unconscious and can’t be woken up. If that’s the case, seek help immediately, as they could be at risk of dying.

According to the Mayo Clinic, here are the steps you should take to help someone with alcohol poisoning:

1. Call For Help

Call 911 or your local emergency number as soon as you notice threatening signs of alcohol poisoning. One of the biggest mistakes people make is assuming someone will sleep it off. While you’re waiting for help to arrive, gather as much information about themselves and their night as possible. What did they drink? Did they take anything with it? Do they have any pre-existing medical conditions? Etc.

2. Do Not Leave Them Alone

Once you realize someone is suffering from alcohol poisoning, do not leave their side unless someone else is there with them. They should be monitored 100 percent of the time until medical help arrives. Alcohol poisoning has a direct effect on your gag reflex, so if someone’s vomiting, they could choke on it and suffocate. This is one of the most common ways to die from alcohol poisoning. If they are not vomiting, do not make them throw up, as this could induce choking.

3. Help Them Hands-On

If someone has lost control of their motor functions, or they’re having a seizure, you need to help them physically. Position yourself behind them to keep their body sitting upright. If they must lie down, make sure to turn their head to the side to prevent choking. Do your best to keep the person awake and prevent loss of consciousness.

If you think someone has alcohol poisoning, don’t hesitate to get help. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and the decision may end up saving someone’s life.

Phoenix ER & Medical Hospital is ready to assist any medical emergency and is open all hours of the day, every day of the year. Our facility is equipped to treat alcohol poisoning and sickness due to alcohol.

This holiday season, we encourage you to drink responsibly, find a ride, and don’t overdo it.

Wishing you safe, healthy, and happy holidays,


Author jsmith

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