The Signs of Alcohol Poisoning


Alcohol poisoning is a serious – and sometimes deadly – consequence of drinking large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time. Generally, alcohol is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream and the amount of alcohol in your blood peaks within 30 to 45 minutes after your last drink. Drinking too much too quickly can affect your breathing, heart rate, body temperature, and gag reflex and can potentially lead to coma or death.

Many factors influence how you react to alcohol including your genetics, body weight, sex, age, type of beverage you consume, amount of food in your stomach, medicine in your system, and your overall health.

A standard-sized alcoholic beverage is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1 shot of hard liquor in a mixed drink. Make sure you are aware of this when considering how much you drink. Alcohol poisoning deaths are most common among middle-aged adults, most people who die of alcohol poisoning are men, and 68 percent of deaths are among non-Hispanic whites.

Life-threatening signs of alcohol poisoning include:

  • Inability to wake up
  • Vomiting
  • Slow breathing (fewer than 8 breaths per minute)
  • Irregular breathing (10 seconds or more between breaths)
  • Seizures
  • Hypothermia (low body temperature), bluish skin color, paleness

In the event of alcohol poisoning:

  • Make sure to check on that person often to ensure they are still conscious and responsive
  • Make certain they lay on their side, not their back
  • Don’t give them food, drink, or medication of any kind

Be sure to call 911 or visit your nearest St. Luke’s Health emergency department if you or someone you know displays the symptoms of alcohol poisoning.

Sources:
CDC
Drinking Too Much Too Fast...

Recent Updates

Recipe: Power-Packed Protein Balls

JUN 14, 2021

Looking for a recipe that takes minutes to make and is full of feel-good ingredients? Look no further; we’ve got you covered!

Read More Additional information about Recipe: Power-Packed Protein Balls | St. Luke's Health

Ease Back Into Exercise: 4 Essential Tips From Doctors

JUN 08, 2021

Thinking of exercising again? Here's what doctors are saying on how to ease back into your workout routines safely.

Read More Additional information about Ease Back Into Exercise: 4 Essential Tips From Doctors

Get Started With Deep Breathing To Reduce Anxiety

MAY 17, 2021

Set aside time to get comfortable and practice breathing in and out. Learn more about deep diaphragmatic breathing with a free guide.

Read More Additional information about Get Started With Deep Breathing To Reduce Anxiety

Find a Doctor


Looking for a doctor? Perform a quick search by name or browse by specialty.