Amy Winehouse was a promising and talented young singer who died ahead of her time. Her bodyguard found her lying on her bed not breathing and pulseless. He immediately called emergency services and when the ambulance arrived, she was pronounced dead at the scene. She was only 27 years old. In her room, police found one small and two large bottles of vodka. After an autopsy, it was discovered that her blood alcohol content was more than five times the legal drink-drive limit. She died of alcohol intoxication.
Most teenagers, adults even, love drinking alcohol. For many, there’s nothing like a night of alcohol to party. There’s always a reason to celebrate with alcohol. For anyone who’s drank one too many units, the results are often vomiting or passing out, something to laugh about the next day, however, the more serious consequences are not popularly known to people. The repercussions of drinking and driving are known to many. On the other hand, alcohol intoxication, an equally fatal consequence, is not as famous due to its small number of known cases.
Alcohol poisoning is caused by drinking a toxic amount of alcohol, often over a short period of time. It is called poisoning because of the damage it causes the cells and organs in the body, which may ultimately lead to damaging the health of a person.
Alcohol depresses several nerves that control involuntary actions, including breathing, heartbeat and gag reflex (which prevents choking). Since alcohol is an irritant to the stomach, it is not uncommon for someone who has drunk excessive amounts of alcohol to barf it out. There then occurs the danger of choking, which could easily lead to death by asphyxiation in an unconscious person. It is important to not assume that a person sleeping is fine due to the continual increase in blood alcohol concentration in the body even if the person has stopped drinking. This is because alcohol continues to enter the bloodstream and circulate throughout the body for several more hours, depending on the alcohol amount intake.
Some signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning include: mental confusion, unable to rouse person, vomiting, slow, irregular breathing, hypothermia, bluish skin color, paleness and seizures. Vomiting should not be induced at all times. In severe cases, it can lead to unconsciousness, coma and even death.
The objectives of treating a person suspected of alcohol poisoning are to (1) keep airway open (2) evaluate for other conditions and (3) if necessary, seek medical help. Ensure that the mouth is empty and if there is any vomit, clear from the mouth. Stay with a person who is vomiting and try to keep the person in an upright sitting position. If the person can drink, give him/ her water. Loosen any clothing that may restrict breathing. If the person is conscious, it is necessary to cover the person with a blanket or coat to protect them from the cold.
Evaluate for other potential injuries, especially those in the head and neck. Check and monitor vital signs, such as responsiveness,
breathing and pulse. If the person is breathing normally, put them in the recovery position. If the person is unconscious, with no signs of breathing and pulse, begin CPR. If another person is present, ask the other person to call for emergency medical services.
The instructions mentioned above cannot serve as a substitute for knowledge of first aid. workplace approved programs offer first aid training and CPR classes, which is advisable to all, especially teenagers and adults who love to drink alcohol.