Alcohol Poisoning: A Medical Emergency


How You Can Tell – Signs and Symptoms

  • Unconscious or semi-consciousness.
  • Slow respiration (breaths) of eight or less per minute or lapses between breaths of more than eight seconds.
  • Cold, clammy, pale or bluish skin.

In the event of alcohol poisoning, these signs and symptoms will most likely be accompanied by a strong odor of alcohol.  While these are obvious signs of alcohol poisoning, the list is certainly not all inclusive.

What You Can Do To Help:

  • If you encounter a person who exhibits one or more of the signs and symptoms CALL 911.
  • Do what you would do in any medical emergency—call immediately.
  • While waiting for 911 emergency transport, gently turn the intoxicated person on his/her side and maintain that position by placing a pillow in the small of the person’s back.  This is important to prevent aspiration (choking) should the person vomit.
  • Stay with the person until medical help arrives.
  • If a person appears to be “sleeping it off” it is important to realize that even though a person may be semi-conscious, alcohol already in the stomach may continue to enter the bloodstream and circulate throughout the body.  The person’s life may still be in danger.
  • If you are having difficulty in determining whether an individual is acutely intoxicated, contact a health professional immediately—you cannot afford to guess.

Reprinted from National Council on Drug and Alcohol Dependence, Inc
Click Here to Download our printable PDF document on Alcohol Poisoning

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