Alcohol Poisoning: The facts

It’s important to be aware that alcohol is a substance that is difficult for the body to process.  If too much is ingested, it can potentially lead to death.

So what exactly are the facts about alcohol?  Here is a fact list to help you become more aware of how alcohol can affect your body:

Is alcohol a poison?

It doesn’t get written about much as murder weapon in a crime novel, but it certainly is a poison that is not naturally meant to be consumed.  The human body can only process about one unit of alcohol per hour.  Drinking a lot in a short amount of time and the amount of alcohol in the blood can stop your body from working properly.

What are the symptoms of alcohol poisoning?

Excess alcohol can:

  • Slow down your brain functions, making you lose your sense of balance.

  • Irritate your stomach which causes vomiting.  It can also prevent a person’s gag reflex from functioning, which can lead to people suffocating on their own vomit or inhaling it to their lungs.

  • Affects the nerves that controls breathing and heartbeat, it can stop both.

  • Dehydrate you, which can cause permanent brain damage.

  • Lower the body’s temperature, which can lead to hypothermia.

  • Lower your blood sugar levels, so you could suffer seizures.

I can just drink some coffee, or sleep it off, right?

Wrong.  Black coffee or ‘sleeping it off’ can actually do more harm than good.  Coffee dehydrates the body and can cause permanent brain damage in a person with alcohol poisoning.  If you see a friend who’s had a lot of drinks, here is what you should do to help:

What can you do to help someone with alcohol poisoning?

If you believe someone is suffering from alcohol poisoning, don’t wait.  Call 000 immediately for an ambulance.  While you are waiting for help to arrive, here are some steps you can take:

  1. Try to keep them awake and sitting up.

  2. Give them some water, if they can drink it.

  3. Lie them down on their side in the recovery position if they’ve passed out, and check if they’re breathing properly.

  4. Keep them warm.

  5. Stay with them and monitor their symptoms.

Every year, around 3,000 people die and over 65,000 people are hospitalised due to alcohol-related injuries or health issues.

Make sure you serve alcohol responsibly to prevent alcohol poisoning.