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Article Summary

Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol poisoning is characterized by the consumption of too much alcohol, too fast. It acts as a poison to your body. Sometimes if an individual drinks too much, they will pass out. This is their body's way of protecting itself from absorbing any more alcohol. But when an individual drinks a lot very quickly, they may not pass out in time. Instead they can actually go into a coma and die. Alcohol poisoning is tragically common on college campuses and is often associated with drinking games or buying shots or shooters for someone at a party.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning

Unconscious "sleeping"; the person cannot be woken
Cold, clammy, pale or bluish skin
Slow breathing, less than 8 times per minute
Irregular breathing, with 10 seconds or more between breaths
Vomiting while "sleeping" or passed out, and not waking up after vomiting

If a person has any of these symptoms, they are likely suffering from alcohol poisoning. It is important for them to receive medical attention immediately.


What To Do When Someone Has Alcohol Poisoning:

Call an ambulance.
Use the Bacchus Maneuver and roll the person into the recovery position to prevent them from choking.
Do not leave the person alone. Stay with them and monitor breathing until medical help arrives.

Don't take chances when a life is at stake. If you're not sure what to do, it's always better to be safe than sorry. Even if the person is underage, get help if you suspect alcohol poisoning.


The Bacchus Maneuver

The Bacchus Maneuver for Alcohol Poisoning:

If someone you know passes out from drinking too much, you can help by positioning the person so they won't choke to death if they vomit.

The person may need more than just time to “sleep it off.” If you are worried about the state they are in, get medical attention, especially if you can't rouse them. They may have combined alcohol with drugs or have a medical condition you're not aware of. They may need to be hospitalized.

Follow these steps to perform "The Bacchus Maneuver":

1. Raise the person's closest arm above his head. Prepare to roll him / her towards you.

2. Gently roll as an unit. Guard his / her head as you roll him / her.

3. Tilt head to maintain airway. Tuck nearest hand under cheek to help maintain head tilt.

4. Check him / her often.

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