When you’re heading out the door to enjoy a night of fun, chances are the last thing on your mind is that you may be headed for danger. While this article is not meant to scare or cause undue concern, it is worth noting that alcohol poisoning is a very real concern.

Alcohol poisoning leads to thousands of deaths each year. Even worse, a large percentage of those deaths occur simply because the friends and/or family did not recognise the symptoms and get help. Don’t let your friend or family member be the next victim. This guide will help you identify the warning signs of alcohol poisoning in time to get help.

“Just sleeping it off”

While it may seem funny at the time, a person who has passed out from drinking too much is now in a dangerous position. Alcohol is an irritant to the stomach and often causes severe vomiting. The nerves that control actions such as breathing or the gag reflex can be severely depressed. This can result in the person choking to death on his/her vomit. Contrary to popular belief, a person who has passed out from too much alcohol is not “sleeping it off”. An individual’s blood alcohol concentration can rise whether they are conscious or not.

Common Signs of Poisoning

  • Irregular breathing, either fast or slow
  • Coma, severe mental confusion, or cannot be woken up
  • Heavy vomiting
  • Body temperature unusually low
  • Extremely pale or bluish skin color

What to do if you suspect alcohol poisoning?

  • Recognise the symptoms
  • Do not wait to see if all symptoms appear
  • Call the emergency services and wait for help to arrive

What can happen to the victim if left untreated?

  • Permanent brain damage from seizures
  • Death

Even those who survive severe alcohol poisoning are often crippled with permanent brain damage among other lasting side-effects. As you can see, these situations are not something that should be taken lightly. While no one likes to be labelled as a party pooper, a little responsibility can potentially save the life of someone you love.

Updated, 23rd February 2014
Blood Alcohol Calculator

BAC metabolism tool

4933841 Calcs

Standard Drinks Calculator

Alcohol units consumed

268014 Calcs

Alcohol Spending Calculator

Track alcohol costs

1927 Calcs

Alcohol Metabolism Rates

Discover how long alcohol takes to exit your system

Dry Red Wines

What makes a red wine dry? Discover the best options

Alcohol Breath Removal

Techniques to remove the smell of alcohol

Cocktail Dresses Defined

Choose the perfect cocktail dress for any occasion

Alcohol Slang Names

Popular terms for alcohol from around the world