Alcohol Poisoning Tall Tale Tips: Do They Work?

When it comes to tips on helping someone with alcohol poisoning, there is some advice that is not helpful. Here are some actions NOT to do, that may cause harm to someone with alcohol poisoning:

  • Do not make them drink water: While drinking water will help with alcohol-induced dehydration, a person with alcohol poisoning could choke on the water if their gag reflex has been severely affected. It is better to keep their airway free and not give them anything to eat or drink.
  • Do not have them drink caffeine: Like alcohol, caffeine leads to dehydration, which can make the symptoms of alcohol poisoning worse. Severe dehydration can lead to brain damage.
  • Do not tell them to sleep it off: If a person with alcohol poisoning is left alone, there is a chance they could choke on their own vomit, stop breathing or go into cardiac arrest. It is important for someone to be there to monitor their health until help arrives.
  • Do not leave them with a backpack on: This idea has been used by college students who reasoned that laying a person on their side with a backpack on would prevent them from rolling onto their back and choking on their vomit. This idea does not work. A person with alcohol poisoning should never be left alone.
  • Do not have them walk it off: Walking may cause stumbling or falling, which can lead to injuries. It is best to stay in one place and keep them upright if possible.
  • Do not put them in a cold shower: Alcohol lowers body temperature and drinking too much alcohol can lead to hypothermia. It is not a good idea to put a person with alcohol poisoning in a cold shower, as it could make the hypothermia worse.

It is best to keep the person comfortable, upright and conscious until help arrives.

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