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What Are the Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning?

Alcohol poisoning is a dangerous condition that kills 6 people per day in the United States, which is almost 2,200 individuals per year. 

If a person drinks too much alcohol in one sitting or regularly over a set period, they can increase their blood alcohol content (BAC), which is detrimental to the body. 

We will discuss alcohol poisoning and its symptoms. Ethanol and its link to alcohol addiction and alcohol poisoning will also be touched on. 

What is alcohol poisoning?

Alcohol poisoning occurs when someone has a higher than normal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in their body. This abnormally high BAC damages the brain and causes your vitals to crash as your body experiences an alcohol overdose. 

Throughout America, alcohol poisoning affects mostly middle-aged individuals aged 35-54. A CDC study reported in 2015 showed that 34% of alcohol poisoning deaths happened to people within this age range. 

The Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning

If you or a loved one regularly drink alcohol in vast amounts at a time, it’s best to know the symptoms of alcohol poisoning so that you can act immediately to seek treatment. 

American Addiction Centers states that symptoms of alcohol poisoning may include:

  • Seizures
  • Lower than normal body temperature
  • Pale skin
  • Clammy hands 
  • Slower than normal heart rate
  • Highly confused
  • The gag reflex is absent
  • Abnormal breathing patterns
  • Puking

Testing for gag reflex or checking one’s heartbeat may not be something that you will readily do at home. However, if the person just consumed so much alcohol and is exhibiting many of the symptoms above, call 911 immediately. You can readily pick up on symptoms such as the person being out of breath, their hands feeling clammy, if they have a seizure, or if they are puking. 

What is EtOH?

Alcohol Rehab Help defines EtOH as ethanol content present in alcoholic beverages that have been distilled utilizing grain substances. Beer, wine, and other spirits have ethanol in them, which is what makes alcohol very addictive if consumed in abundance. 

Ethanol is what relaxes the body and brain and causes mood changes, uncoordinated movements, incoherent speech, and much slower reaction times. 

What’s more surprising is that ethanol can be present in the gas you get for your car at the gas station. 

Alcohol-Proof is Linked to Ethanol Content 

If you drink alcoholic beverages such as moonshine or rum, you will be exposed to high-proof ethyl alcohol. If consumed in abundance, you can experience alcohol poisoning.

The Alcohol Rehab Guide states that rum is usually 40% ABV.  Some moonshine beverages can be 40% ABV as well, but others can be as high as 60% to 80% ABV. Hence, both of these alcoholic beverages are 80-proof. 

An alcohol’s proof is two times higher than the ABV. A higher ABV percentage means that the alcohol proof rating is higher as well. The higher alcohol-proof rating means that it has more ethanol in the alcoholic beverage than other drinks that have a lower alcohol-proof. 

Testing Moonshine for Purity

Test moonshine for purity before drinking it to be safe. Place enough moonshine on a tablespoon and hold a lighter under it. If the flame turns blue, what you have is pure moonshine. If the flame turns yellow or red, this indicates the presence of lead. If you drink this contaminated moonshine in abundance, it can be seriously fatal. 

While this technique is not that reliable of a test, tread carefully with moonshine. Only reputable brands should be consumed in moderation so as not to experience alcohol and/or lead poisoning.  

How to Treat Alcohol Poisoning

Mayo Clinic outlines how to treat alcohol poisoning and the home remedy myths that people should not do if they have this condition. 

What To Do for the Alcohol Poisoned Person Before Paramedics Arrive

Until paramedics arrive at your residence, you should do the following to keep your friend or family member experiencing alcohol poisoning comfortable:

  • Reassuring they are still breathing.
  • Make sure they do not choke on their tongue if they are having a seizure by turning them to their side. This will encourage breathing.
  • Moving sharp objects out of the way if they are having a seizure to stop possible injury. 
  • Open the windows in your home to encourage more airflow. Increased oxygen will keep the person’s blood pumping. 
  • Do not force the person to choke because this could block their airways. 

How Doctors Treat Alcohol Poisoning

Doctors at the hospital or an urgent care center treat alcohol poisoning with intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration from the condition. 

Besides the intravenous fluids, the patient is also given glucose and other vitamins to keep the alcohol poisoning at bay. 

To guide the person’s oxygen levels, they will be put on an oxygen machine to support their lungs. Alcohol poisoning can hinder breathing patterns, so oxygen therapy is vital for recovery. 

When a person with alcohol poisoning is admitted to the hospital, their vitals and well-being are closely monitored. Vitals can dip quickly if they do not get enough oxygen or if the BAC in their body is damaging an important life support function of their body. 

The Myths for Alcohol Poisoning Treatment

Some myths go around that certain home remedies can treat alcohol poisoning. However, doctors have debunked these myths and say that home remedies do not work for this condition. Once your BAC levels are so high that it begins to negatively affect your life support functions, then you must seek medical help. 

Do not engage in these home remedies to treat alcohol poisoning including:

  • Take a cold shower
  • Drinking black coffee
  • Consuming another caffeinated beverage
  • Going to sleep could hinder you from seeking proper medical treatment and become fatal 
  • Attempting to walk off the symptoms

Where to Seek Alcohol Rehab

AZCentral reported in 2015 that they were the 4th state in the United States with high death rates from alcohol poisoning. This astounding CDC study that AZCentral reported shows how important alcohol rehab in Arizona is to the local community. 

Seek alcohol rehab at your local rehabilitation center. The first step to correcting alcoholism is to seek help, which is also the hardest step in the process. 

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