There is a difference between getting poisoning and just passing out after drinking too much. It is a subtle difference that is frequently underestimated and overlooked. This should not be the case, because if you learn to be able to tell the difference, you could save a life. The most common symptoms of alcohol poisoning make themselves evident before the victim has lost consciousness. They include confusion, stupor, vomiting, and sometimes seizures. Sometimes the symptoms occur after the person has passed out. In this case, they include shallow and uneven breathing, low body temperature (unusually cold skin), and more. Under eight heartbeats per minute or less than a breath per second is a sure sign of a problem.
Sometimes the breath is so hard to detect that people are quick to pronounce someone dead. In this case, use a mirror by placing it near their mouth and nose to see whether it clouds up. Make efforts to revive the person and see whether they can be roused into consciousness. If it is not possible, they may have lapsed into a coma. Of course, call 911 at once no matter what the situation is. Better to be labeled a “panicker” than risk them dying.
If the person keeps vomiting after they have lost consciousness, they are at risk of choking on their own vomit and suffocating. If this happens, turn them on their side at once to minimize this risk. It is a shame to die this way, especially considering that it has happened to many great people, such as Jimi Hendrix.
Something not everyone is aware of is that the blood alcohol level sometimes keeps rising even after you have passed out, because the alcohol you have so unwisely consumed moves from your digestive tract into your bloodstream at this time. This is why people who pass out can slip into a coma, and hence need to be under constant supervision (medical) to make sure this does not occur.
Why does excessive drinking can lead to alcohol poisoning? Alcohol is one of the depressant drugs, along with heroin and others. This means it depresses (slows down) the functions of the central nervous system as well as aspects of the autonomous nervous system, such as involuntary actions like the gag reflex and breathing. An excessive dose of alcohol can block these functions completely.
People who are more impulsive by nature compared to others are at greater risk of being in the company of people who drink excessively and doing so themselves. It is not enough to just tell these people to drink responsibly – if it were, we would not need to talk about alcohol poisoning at all. It is also not the best idea to let them take risks, get burned, and then learn about responsible drinking, because even a one-time risk can be fatal.
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