How to help a friend who has consumed too much
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important than policy consequences.
Alcohol poisoning signs and symptoms include:
- Slow breathing (less than eight breaths per minute)
- Irregular breathing (a gap of more than 10 seconds between breaths)
- Blue-tinged skin or pale skin
- Low body temperature (hypothermia)
- Passing out (unconsciousness) and cannot be awakened
It is not necessary to have all these signs and symptoms before you seek help. A person
who is unconscious or cannot be awakened is at risk of dying.
When to see a doctor
If you suspect that someone has alcohol poisoning - even if you don't see the classic
signs and symptoms - seek immediate medical care.
Alcohol poisoning is an emergency
If you are with someone who has been drinking a lot of alcohol and you see any of
the signs or symptoms above, here's what to do:
Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. Never assume that a person will sleep
off alcohol poisoning.
Be prepared to provide information. If you know, be sure to tell hospital or emergency personnel the kind and amount
of alcohol the person drank, and when.
Don't leave an unconscious person alone. Because alcohol poisoning affects the way your gag reflex works, someone with alcohol
poisoning may choke on his or her own vomit and not be able to breathe. While waiting
for help, don't try to make the person vomit because he or she could choke.
Help a person who is vomiting. Try to keep him or her sitting up. If the person must lie down, make sure to turn
his or her head to the side - this helps prevent choking. Try to keep the person awake
to prevent loss of consciousness.
Don't be afraid to get help.
It can be difficult to decide if you think someone is drunk enough to warrant medical
intervention, but it's best to err on the side of caution. You may worry about the
consequences for yourself or your friend or loved one, particularly if you are underage,
but the consequences of not getting the right help in time can be far more serious.
Text from Mayo Clinic