ALCOHOL POISONING/ALCOHOL INTOXICATION
- Alcohol (chemical name, ethanol) is a drug that depresses the activity of the central nervous system – In particular, the brain.
- Alcohol poisoning is prolonged or excessive intake of alcohol which can severely impair all physical and mental functions, and the person may sink into deep unconsciousness.
RISKS/DANGEROUS TO THE CASUALTY FROM ALCOHOL POISONING
- An unconscious casualty is in danger of inhaling and choking on vomit.
- Alcohol widens (dilates) the blood vessels. This means the body loses heat, and hypothermia may develop.
- A casualty who smells of alcohol may be mis-diagnosed and not receive appropriate treatment for an underlying cause of unconsciousness, such as a head injury, stroke or heart attack
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
- A strong smell of alcohol
- Empty bottles or cans
- Impaired consciousness, the casualty may respond if roused, but will quickly relapse.
- Flushed and moist face. Full bounding pulse
- Deep, noisy breathing consciousness. In the later stages of consciousness.
- Dry, bloated appearance to the face
- Shallow breathing
- Weak, rapid pulse
- Dilated pupils that react poorly to light.
MANAGING A CASUALTY WITH ALCOHOL POISONING
- Maintain an open air way
- Assess for other conditions
- Seek for medical help if necessary.
- Cover the casualty with a coat or blanket to protect him from the cold.
- Assess the casualty for any injuries, especially head injuries, or other medical conditions.
- Monitor and record vital signs – level of response, pulse and breathing until the casualty recovers or is placed in the care of responsible person.
- Prolonged or excessive intake of alcohol can severely impair all physical and mental functions, and the person may sink into deep unconsciousness.
- Do not induce vomiting.