Alcohol Poisoning

What Alcohol Poisoning Looks Like 

  • The person is extremely confused and disoriented and may be falling down
  • The person passes out and is hard to wake or won't wake up
  • Breathing is slow and/or irregular
  • The person feels very cold
  • Skin/lips are cold, clammy, pale, or bluish
  • The person is vomiting while passed out
  • The person is having seizures

The Dangers

  • If someone with alcohol poisoning is left untreated, they can suffer from hypothermia, irregular heart beat and breathing, low blood sugar (leads to seizures), severe dehydration, and death; they also can choke to death if they vomit.
  • Even if the person lives, an alcohol overdose can cause irreversible brain damage.

What to Do

  • Remember that this is an emergency situation, and you should seek professional medical help rather than trying to address it on your own.
  • Put aside concerns about getting in trouble if you have been drinking too—preventing serious injury or death is more important in this situation.
  • Call 911 immediately. The person probably has alcohol poisoning, which could be fatal or cause serious health problems.
  • Do not leave the person alone or let them “sleep it off"—stay with them until help arrives.
  • Try to stay calm.
  • Keep the person awake and sitting up if possible.
  • If they are conscious, give them water to prevent dehydration.
  • If the person is unconscious, turn them on their side to prevent choking if they vomit.
  • Keep the person warm to prevent hypothermia.
  • Do not try to give the person anything to eat or drink if they are unconscious, as they may choke.
  • Do not try to induce vomiting, as this may cause choking.
  • Do not put the person in a cold shower, as this may cause a loss of consciousness or injuries from slipping and falling.
  • Do not allow the person to drink more alcohol or consume other drugs or medications.
  • If known, tell emergency personnel how much and what the person had to drink (and any other drugs or medications taken).