Alcohol Poisoning Solicitors - Medical Negligence Compensation Lawyers
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Alcohol Poisoning Overview
Alcohol poisoning is an overdose of alcohol such that you take in more alcohol than your body is able to process. It is an especially deadly form of alcohol abuse that affects primarily college-age students and older adults who are alcoholics but drink beyond their capacity. Binge drinking, which involves consuming more than four alcoholic drinks at one sitting for females and five alcoholic beverages at one sitting for males, can lead to the diagnosis of alcohol poisoning. It can happen if you only drink one time per year if you drink enough at that one time. There is a relationship between alcohol poisoning and alcoholism but you don't have to be an alcoholic in order to die from alcohol poisoning.
The effects of alcohol on the body depend on the blood alcohol concentration and on how acclimated your body already is to alcohol. Alcoholics take higher amounts of alcohol in order to get alcohol poisoning because their bodies are adapted to higher levels of alcohol.
The factors that play into your blood alcohol concentration include how much food is in your stomach when you drink. The more food you have, the slower the digestion and entry of alcohol into your system. How fast your body metabolizes alcohol can make a difference in your blood alcohol concentration as well as how strong the alcoholic beverage is. How fast you drink your alcoholic beverage makes a difference as well as how much alcohol you actually take in.
Alcohol poisoning can be made worse if you are taking certain other medications. Alcohol interacts badly and increases the risk of alcohol poisoning if you take the alcohol along with anti-seizure medications such as Phenobarbital, sedatives like cannabis, tranquilizers, benzodiazepines and barbiturates. If you drink alcohol along with narcotic pain relievers you have a higher risk of getting alcohol poisoning.
The symptoms of alcohol poisoning are progressive as the blood alcohol level rises. The first symptom is usually nausea, followed by extreme vomiting. This is your body telling you that you've had too much alcohol. Other symptoms include an inability to completely awaken the individual with alcohol poisoning, slurred speech, confusion, a lack of consciousness (passing out), having cyanosis or blue skin around the mouth and extremities, a lack of reflexes and seizures. The person can have a black out where they are technically awake but have no recall of what they are doing during the black out.
The best way to treat alcohol poisoning is to make the decision to get proper medical care in the event of a possible case of alcohol poisoning. A lack of proper care can lead to the death of the individual who may just seem as though they have "passed out" but are technically fine. The odds are that this is an individual who is not fine and needs supportive care.
The diagnosis of alcohol poisoning involves a blood test that determines the alcohol level. Alcohol poisoning can occur with a blood alcohol level as low as 0.25 or as high as more than 0.4. Higher levels are seen with binge drinkers or with alcoholics that have come to be used to an elevated blood alcohol level. They may not see symptoms of alcohol poisoning until they reach a blood alcohol level of more than 0.3. Doctors pay attention to the signs and symptoms also to determine the presence of alcohol poisoning.
The treatment of alcohol poisoning involves providing supportive care until the individual processes the alcohol and recovers from their condition. This means pumping out the stomach of alcohol and other contents, using a ventilator if the person is not breathing well on their own and waiting until the alcohol level returns to normal.
If you encounter someone who is intoxicated, you need to monitor that person carefully and continuously. Monitor their breathing and awaken them often. Do not have a drunken person take care of another drunken person. Don't let the drunken person drive. Don't give them anything to try and sober them up. Don't give them a cold shower as that can make them worse.
To avoid alcohol poisoning, drink only one drink per hour, including one twelve ounce beer, one 4 ounce glass of wine, one ounce of 80 proof hard alcohol and a ten ounce wine cooler. Drink less alcohol if you weigh very little and are slight of build.
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The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here