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Alcohol poisoning is a very serious condition that can damage the health and, in severe cases, have a fatal outcome. Alcohol poisoning or alcohol overdose occurs when the levels of alcohol in the blood become critical. What is alcohol poisoning?

In most cases alcohol poisoning occurs when a person drinks large amounts of the alcohol. The exact amount of alcohol is not the only factor. Other factors can increase the risk of poisoning, for example drinking on empty stomach. When there is no food in the stomach, the alcohol gets absorbed into the bloodstream within seconds and the signs of intoxication set in almost instantly. The type of alcoholic drink is also a factor. Strong drinks, those that are not diluted with soft drinks or water, are more likely to cause poisoning. The biggest culprit for alcohol poisoning is so called binge drinking, when a person drinks five or more alcoholic beverages at the same time or over a very short period of time.

Symptoms of alcohol poisoning

It is very important to learn the symptoms of alcohol poisoning, because a person who is suffering from it needs immediate medical attention. Most commonly, signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning include confusion, stupor, unconsciousness, cold and clammy skin, vomiting, low body temperature, feeling of illness and fatigue and inability to speak coherently or at all.

Even though they may seem so, these symptoms are not mild at all, as they pose a great medical risk. However, the signs and symptoms that indicate a severe alcohol poisoning also include irregular breathing, erratic behavior, seizures and absence of reflexes.

Treatment for alcohol poisoning

If someone suspects that a person could be suffering from alcohol poisoning, especially if they witnessed to alcohol consumption of the person in question, he or she should call for immediate medical assistance or rush the poisoning victim to the nearest medical facility. In the meanwhile, the person who is suffering from alcohol poisoning should not be made to drink, eat or vomit, because it may aggravate the condition. An unconscious person should not be left alone, and a person who is having difficulty walking should be persuaded to sit or lay down until the ambulance comes.

Alcohol poisoning treatment usually consists of charcoal mixed with water, which will absorb the alcohol from the body. In some cases, saline solution or IV will be administered to prevent dehydration due to vomiting. Even without vomiting, alcohol causes certain level of dehydration, which is why it is strongly recommended to always drink water along with alcoholic drinks. In severe cases, the poisoning victim will need to be observed in alcohol for 24 to 48 hours.

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