What You Need to Know About Alcohol Poisoning

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day can include drinking—even drinking to excess. And the results can be deadly. Although many people enjoy moderate drinking, defined as 1 drink per day for women or 2 for men, drinking too much can lead to an overdose. An overdose of alcohol occurs when a person has a blood alcohol content (or BAC) sufficient to produce impairments that increase the risk of harm. Here, from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, one of the National Institutes of Health, is how to recognize when someone has gone way too far in their drinking (if you see these symptoms, get help immediately):

Mental confusion, stupor, coma, or inability to wake up



Slow breathing (fewer than 8 breaths per minute)

Irregular breathing (10 seconds or more between breaths)

Hypothermia (low body temperature), bluish skin color, paleness

For more on issues of alcohol abuse and alcoholism, visit the NIAAA website at www.niaaa.nih.gov.


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