Alcohol Poisoning | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Food & Beverages, LIFE

Alcohol Poisoning

Posted: Jul 5, 2015 at 1:05 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Yinka Shokunbi  – Lagos


Within the space of three weeks in the month of June, about 50 persons lost their lives after consuming locally brewed spirit popularly known as ‘ogogoro’ in Bayelsa and Ondo States propmting the federal government through the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control to place a ban on the consumption of all unregistered local brews.

NAFDAC’s Director General, Dr Paul Orhii had said preliminary investigations showed that the local brews consumed by those who died at the two instances were laced with lethal substance suspected to be high concentration of methanol which is unwholesome and unfit for human consumption hence the need for Nigerians to avoid it.

According to Orhii methanol toxicity could be caused by over fermentation or over concentration of the drink by their producers.

However, there are certain known signs and symptoms associated with ingesting poisoned alcoholic drink.

But according to experts, Alcohol poisoning, which happens when someone drinks a large portion of alcohol in a short amount of time, can be difficult to distinguish from the signs of ordinary drunkenness.

The argument is, regardless of the type of alcoholic drink, symptoms of poisoning are the same in an individual who has ingested such a drink.

Alcohol poisoning signs and symptoms include:

•Confusion, Vomiting, Seizures, Slow breathing (less than eight breaths a minute), Irregular breathing (a gap of more than 10 seconds between breaths), Blue-tinged skin or pale skin, Low body temperature (hypothermia) and Passing out (unconsciousness) and can’t be awakened.

Experts advise that one should not wait to have all these signs and symptoms before seeking help. A person who is unconscious or can’t be awakened is at risk of dying.

When to see a doctor


If you suspect that someone has alcohol poisoning — even if you don’t see the classic signs and symptoms — it is advised to seek immediate medical care.

According to Dr. Orhii, Alcohol poisoning is an emergency and no one should be left alone in any such situation of suspected alcohol poisoning saying, “we must never assume that when someone appears drunk, once he sleeps, the alcohol in the system would clear off, it may not be drunkenness and as such, the person may sleep to death”, said Orhii.

•Don’t leave an unconscious person alone. This is because someone with alcohol poisoning may choke on his or her own vomit and not be able to breathe. While waiting for help, don’t try to make the person vomit because he or she could choke.

•Help a person who is vomiting. Try to keep him or her sitting up. If the person must lie down, make sure to turn his or her head to the side — this helps prevent choking. Try to keep the person awake to prevent loss of consciousness.

Alcohol poisoning can lead to liver and nerve damage, brain damage or even death.

It can be difficult to decide if you think someone is drunk enough to warrant medical intervention, but it’s best to err on the side of caution. You may worry about the consequences for yourself or your friend or loved one, particularly if you’re underage. But the consequences of not getting the right help in time can be far more serious.

(with information from Mayo clinic).