- Has the symptoms of alcohol poisoning. These can include vomiting, coughing up blood, gasping for breath, passing out, and seizures.
- Has a history of heavy drinking and is having severe withdrawal symptoms but is not willing to get treatment.
- Has delirium tremens (DTs), which can lead to death. Symptoms can include seizure, shaking, a fast heartbeat, and seeing or hearing things that aren’t there (hallucinations).
- Is thinking or talking about suicide or harming others.
Preventing alcohol poisoning
The Mayo Clinic suggests the following tips to prevent alcohol poisoning:
- Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger. When you do drink, enjoy your drink slowly.
- Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Having some food in your stomach may slow alcohol absorption somewhat, although it won’t prevent alcohol poisoning if, for example, you’re binge drinking.
- Communicate with your teens. Talk to your teenagers about the dangers of alcohol, including binge drinking. Evidence suggests that children who are warned about alcohol by their parents and who report close relationships with their parents are less likely to start drinking.
- Store products safely. If you have small children, store alcohol-containing products, including cosmetics, mouthwashes and medications, out of their reach. Use child-proof bathroom and kitchen cabinets to prevent access to household cleaners. Keep toxic items in your garage or storage area safely out of reach. Consider keeping alcoholic beverages under lock and key.
- Get follow-up care. If you or your teen has been treated for alcohol poisoning, be sure to ask about follow-up care. Meeting with a health professional, particularly an experienced chemical dependency professional, can help you prevent future binge drinking.
Alcohol poisoning is a serious, life-threatening condition that needs to be treated immediately. If you suspect that you or someone else is suffering from alcohol poisoning, don’t wait – contact a healthcare professional or 911 immediately.