Keeping New Year’s Safe: The Key To Understanding Alcohol Poisoning

The end of an old year and the beginning of the new one is the perfect time for catching up with friends, drinking the last bit of Christmas eggnog, and breaking open a new bottle of Champagne. Drinking alcohol has always been a holiday tradition, and it’s certainly one that plenty of people enjoy responsibly each year. Unfortunately there is a bit of danger for over-drinking this time of year. While most people will write it off as being in the party mood or expected behavior there is such a thing of drinking too much alcohol.

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image by tanakawho

There are several warning signs of alcohol poisoning. You may think its innocent – your friend getting toasted in front of the television as you all count down from ten. But he may actually be in serious danger. The following are some signs you should watch out for if you have a party guest that you think may be beyond just slurring their speech:

  • Confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Unconsciousness
  • Low body temperature (as this can be a sign of Hypothermia)
  • Stupor (conscious, but unresponsive)

If any of these signs occur to a party guest or a friend, be sure to take action straight away.

But what do you do if you think someone is suffering from alcohol poisoning? You may have heard some myths about what to do, but there are some things you should avoid doing no matter how many people have told you that it totally works.

Surprisingly enough, giving someone coffee isn’t the best idea. You may think you’re serving to wake them up or help them shake off a stupor, but in reality you’re dehydrating them even more than they were already. Water is the best thing to give to someone suffering from dehydration.

Additionally never leave someone to sleep off the effects of the alcohol. The amount of alcohol continues to rise in the bloodstream even when more alcohol is not being consumed. That means people should not be left alone when they are clearly past the point of buzzed.

There are a few things that you should do if you find yourself in a situation where someone you know is suffering from alcohol poisoning. First of all, contrary to that whole “let them sleep it off” advice, try to keep the person awake and alert. Again, give them water if they can hold it down in order to fight dehydration. If they do fall asleep or unconscious keep them on their side in the recovery position. Make sure to keep tabs on their breathing as well. Keep them warm. Hypothermia is a nasty piece of work, and alcohol lowers body temperature. Definitely do not give them a cold shower as that could make the problem much worse. Finally and most importantly stay with them and watch their symptoms.

This time of year can be a great time to let loose and enjoy yourself. The important thing to remember is to know how much is too much. Pay attention to your own drinking habits, and keep your eyes and ears open for any symptoms of alcohol poisoning at the various parties you’ll be sure to enjoy. Responsibility may not seem like the buzzword for the holiday season, but if you remember to keep yourself and your friends safe everyone will have a more enjoyable time.


Mark Reynolds works for a drug rehab clinic. There is always an influx of alcohol dependent patients around the holidays. In addition to guest blogging, Mark also shares his experiences from drug rehab on


Please Be Safe & Have A Happy New Year!

New Year's 2014
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image courtesy of Vlado/

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