Before you go any further, it needs to be stated emphatically that you should never try to treat alcohol poisoning at home without first consulting a medical professional. However, what many of us consider to be alcohol poisoning is, in reality, just having had too much to drink. Clinical alcohol poisoning means that your blood alcohol levels are high enough to cause serious damage to vital organs which has the potential to cause irrevocable injury up to and including death. Consequently, you must first ascertain that these toxic levels have not been reached, which means getting that individual to an emergency facility immediately. The following information should prove to be helpful in taking the necessary steps to determine if you are looking at a real medical emergency or a simple matter of having had a few too many.
Signs to Look for in Alcohol Poisoning
Medical experts tell you that the first thing to look for is the inability to rouse the inebriated person from a drunken stupor. If you cannot bring the person to some semblance of wakefulness then call for emergency assistance immediately. Don’t assume that it is best to let them ‘sleep it off.’ That could be the worst judgment call of all time! The next thing to do is try to figure out if that person also ingested any drugs, both legal and illegal. Statistics prove that most cases of suspected alcohol poisoning and/or drug overdose is because the person took some form of pharmaceutical or chemical substance within a short time of or during the process of drinking alcohol. Again, if you cannot bring your friend, acquaintance or loved one to a level of consciousness to answer your questions as to exactly what they have taken or drunk, it’s time for medical intervention.
Medical Treatment for Alcohol Poisoning
At the hospital, the first thing they will probably do is ‘pump’ the person’s stomach. The medical name for this procedure is called gastric irrigation or gastric lavage. This entails placing a tube down the patient’s nose or mouth and feeding it down to the stomach. Small amounts of a saline solution will be fed into the stomach and then suctioned out. This process is repeated as many times as necessary until the liquid brought up is clear. Once the doctor is assured that the stomach has been evacuated of any alcoholic or chemical contents, he or she will then determine if any further treatments need to be administered. Alcohol poisoning is nothing to play with and alcohol poisoning treatment at home should never be attempted. However, most often it is possible to treat extreme intoxication at home if it has not reached toxic levels in the system.
“Suspected Alcohol Poisoning” Treatment at Home
If you find that your friend or relative is able to stay somewhat conscious then the first thing to do when considering alcohol poisoning treatment at home is to stay with them at all times to observe. Even if they need to dash to the bathroom to ‘puke their guts out,’ stay with them at all costs. Actually, vomiting is nature’s way of clearing the offending substances, in this case alcohol, from the body. Your job will be to make sure they don’t drown in their own vomit or hit their head on the sink or toilet in the process. Losing consciousness in the act of vomiting is extremely dangerous because the person could land on his or her back and literally suffocate in vomit. Also, hydrating the individual with water is a good thing. Both vomiting and the amount of alcohol in the person’s system will dehydrate them rapidly which can bring about a whole new set of problems. To sum it up, home treatment includes staying with them at all times even when vomiting, keeping them awake or at least upright and making sure they stay hydrated with fluids (non alcoholic!)
Alcohol Poisoning Treatment at Home to Avoid
First of all, coffee is never a solution. There is an old joke that says the only thing coffee does for a drunk is make him a wide awake drunk. Although that in and of itself isn’t a bad thing because you want to keep him or her awake, the bad thing is that coffee can also exacerbate dehydration. Caffeine and alcohol don’t mix well at the best of times. The second thing to avoid when treating borderline alcohol poisoning at home is letting the drunk ‘sleep it off.’ You have no way to monitor their level of coherence when they are asleep and if you leave them, even for a moment, they could vomit and drown in it. And, the final home remedy that some lunatic came up with is to give them a shot of something alcoholic to ease the tremors. That’s just perfect logic to an idiot! It’s like saying treat a burn by sticking your hand back in the fire.
The important thing to consider here is that you really can’t give alcohol poisoning treatment at home. You can, however, assist a person who has simply had a bit too much to drink. There may be a fine line between ‘too much to drink’ and ‘alcohol poisoning’ so being aware of the signs and symptoms can be a literal lifesaver. If you even suspect that alcohol levels are at a toxic level, don’t attempt home remedies. Get emergency help immediately as your first line of attack. If it is determined that the person’s alcohol levels are not high enough to warrant medical intervention, follow the steps outlined above and all should be well – for you at least! Your drunken friend might take a while to recover.