Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol Poisoning

We all like a drink but please be careful when in Spain, the measures are much larger and the temperature much hotter, so be aware of how much you are drinking.  If you have to go to hospital you may NOT be covered by your insurance so will have to foot the bill for any treatment.

There is no minimum amount of alcohol that could cause alcohol poisoning

It’s true that binge drinking is often the cause of alcohol poisoning. But not always.

It depends on your age, sex, size, weight, how fast you’ve been drinking, how much you’ve eaten, your general health and other drugs you might have taken.


The death rate here in Spain for deaths by Alcohol poisoning is 0.62% don´t become a statistic.

Alcohol poisoning symptoms

It can be a very fine line. One minute your house guest is stupidly drunk, the next they’ve become dangerously intoxicated.

Being aware of alcohol poisoning symptoms is crucial, because if a person you care about is suffering from acute alcohol poisoning, they will be in no state to help themselves.

Symptoms to look out for are:

  • Confusion
  • Loss of coordination
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Irregular or slow breathing (less than eight breaths a minute)
  • Blue-tinged or pale skin
  • Low body temperature (hypothermia)
  • Stupor – when someone’s conscious but unresponsive
  • Unconsciousness – passing out
  • Find out the effects alcohol can have on your brain and stomach.

Know what not to do

Acute alcohol poisoning can be extremely dangerous. Your best intentions could make it worse. There are so many myths around about how to deal with people who’ve drunk to excess, so it’s a good idea to make sure you’re aware of what NOT to do.


  • Leave someone to sleep it off. The amount of alcohol in someone’s blood continues to rise even when they’re not drinking. That’s because alcohol in the digestive system carries on being absorbed into the bloodstream. Too much alcohol in the blood stops the body working properly.
  • Give them a coffee. Alcohol dehydrates the body. Coffee will make someone who is already dehydrated even more so. Severe dehydration can cause permanent brain damage.
  • Make them sick. Their gag reflex won’t be working properly which means they could choke on their vomit.
  • Walk them around. Alcohol is a depressant which slows down your brain’s functions and affects your sense of balance. Walking them around might cause accidents.
  • Put them under a cold shower. Alcohol lowers your body temperature, which could lead to hypothermia. A cold shower could make them colder than they already are.
  • Let them drink any more alcohol. The amount of alcohol in their bloodstream could become dangerously high.

Five things to do if someone is showing signs of alcohol poisoning

  1. Try to keep them awake and sitting up.
  2. Give them some water, if they can drink it.
  3. Lie them on their side in the recovery position if they’ve passed out, and check they’re breathing properly.
  4. Keep them warm.
  5. Stay with them and monitor their symptoms.

If they’re not getting any better, don’t delay, dial 112 for an ambulance.

Don’t wait for all the symptoms to show before getting help

Better safe than sorry is the rule for alcohol poisoning. If you think someone might be experiencing it, even if you have doubts, call 112 for an ambulance.

Every weekend, hundreds of people are taken into hospital with acute alcohol poisoning. Medical staff will monitor people who have less severe alcohol poisoning closely, until it’s safe for them to go home. If it’s more serious, they could:

  • insert a tube into their windpipe to help them breathe.
  • put them on a drip to top up their body’s water, blood sugar and vitamin levels.
  • fit a catheter – a tube that allows them to empty their bladder straight into a bag.
  • pump the stomach by flushing fluids through a tube inserted into the nose or mouth.



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