If you or someone you know is exhibiting signs of alcohol poisoning, it is imperative you recognize the symptoms and act right away. Severe impairment, confusion, vomiting, and other symptoms may be evident before you lose consciousness, or you may identify them in a friend who has been drinking.
If you were binge drinking, drinking an excess amount on a dare or as a part of a game, or had a lot of alcohol quickly, you could have alcohol poisoning. Because alcohol poisoning can be deadly, it is vital to get emergency medical care right away.
Understanding the Common Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning
Alcohol is a depressant, meaning it is a drug that slows down your body systems and functions. The side effects of drinking — and the symptoms of alcohol poisoning — are mostly related to this effect. In some cases, only the person affected or someone close to them will be able to identify the early signs of alcohol poisoning and decide if medical care is necessary based on how much they had to drink.
You may recognize some initial signs of alcohol poisoning in yourself including vomiting, pale skin, and feeling colder than you should. However, as more and more alcohol gets into your bloodstream, your judgment will be impaired, and it may become more challenging to see the effects in yourself.
If you are with a friend who may have alcohol poisoning, you may see them exhibit:
- Disorientation and mental stupor
- Varying stages of consciousness or passing out
- Dramatically slowed or irregular breathing
- Bluish tint to very pale skin
If you believe you or someone else is experiencing signs of alcohol poisoning, call for emergency medical help or go to the nearest emergency department. Tell the medical care providers you believe it may be alcohol poisoning. This is not the time to lie about how much you had to drink or what your friend has been drinking.
It is essential that the doctors run the right tests to confirm alcohol poisoning, and begin supportive treatment immediately for the best chance at a positive outcome.
Alcohol Poisoning Can Be Deadly So You Must Identify Complications Quickly
If you, a friend, or a medical care provider recognizes signs of alcohol poisoning, you must take steps immediately to protect the person from deadly complications. Dangerous complications include:
Vomiting is one of the most common — and dangerous — symptoms of alcohol poisoning. When someone is suffering from alcohol poisoning, they are at risk of losing consciousness. When they throw up while unconscious, choking to death is a real possibility.
Vomiting can also lead to dehydration. Patients may require fluids intravenously to prevent dehydration-related problems that include:
- Drop in blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Brain injury
Without medical intervention, dehydration from alcohol poisoning can lead to death.
Alcohol poisoning slows breathing, sometimes causing extremely slow or irregular breathing. You could only take a few breaths per minute or stop breathing entirely in severe cases. Without adequate oxygen intake, you could suffer a hypoxic brain injury or death. For this reason, it is important that medical care providers monitor breathing and pulmonary function closely.
Low Blood Sugar
Low blood sugar levels, especially in combination with dehydration, can cause serious health concerns and put your life in danger if you have alcohol poisoning. Low blood sugar can cause loss of consciousness and seizures, among other symptoms. Without treatment, you could suffer brain damage or death.
In the same way the depressant qualities of alcohol affect the body’s ability to breathe, it can also affect the heart’s electrical impulses. You could experience slowed or irregular heartbeat because of alcohol poisoning. Your heart could stop in extreme cases.
Other alcohol poisoning side effects, such as hypothermia, can lead to heart complications including cardiac arrest.
Treatment for Alcohol Poisoning
With prompt care, medical care providers can help to limit the negative effects of alcohol poisoning. They can offer supportive treatments or take a more active approach to help the body flush the alcohol. Even in relatively minor cases, monitoring is essential.
If you believe you have alcohol poisoning or see symptoms of the condition in another person, it is important you can recognize the symptoms and get them the medical care they need. At the hospital, care providers should confirm the diagnosis and begin treatment right away.
You May Have a Medical Malpractice Case If Your Loved One Died of Alcohol Poisoning
If a member of your family suffered alcohol poisoning and medical care professionals did not recognize the signs and offer adequate treatment, you may be eligible to pursue damages through a medical malpractice claim.
The medical malpractice attorneys from Pintas & Mullins will review your case for free. We can advise you of whether negligent care played a role in your loved one’s death and help you pursue the compensation you deserve. Any delay in diagnosing or treating your loved one’s alcohol poisoning symptoms could be malpractice.
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