First Aid for Cyclists Level 2 (VTQ)

83 videos, 4 hours and 18 minutes

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Alcohol Poisoning

Video 81 of 83
2 min 21 sec
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Navigating the Perils of Alcohol Poisoning: A Comprehensive Guide

While consuming alcohol isn't inherently problematic, its excessive intake can lead to a critical condition known as alcohol poisoning.

Alcohol's Effect on the Body

Alcohol, scientifically known as ethanol, depresses the activity of the central nervous system—particularly the brain. Found in various forms and strengths—from beers and wines to spirits and medical alcohol—it can cause personality shifts, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue as consumption increases. Excessive or prolonged drinking can severely hamper all physical and mental functions, potentially causing deep, hard-to-revive unconsciousness.

Alcohol Poisoning: Recognising the Risks

A progression into serious alcohol poisoning can, under certain circumstances, prove fatal. Risks include:

  • Choking Hazard: Unconscious individuals risk choking or inhaling vomit.
  • Hypothermia: Alcohol dilates blood vessels, causing heat loss which can lead to hypothermia.
  • Misdiagnosis: The smell of alcohol can mask underlying causes of unconsciousness, such as a head injury, stroke, or heart attack, leading to misdiagnosis.

Identifying Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning

Individuals with alcohol poisoning may exhibit certain signs:

  • Difficulty responding when spoken to.
  • Flushed appearance and deep, noisy breathing.
  • Full, bounding pulse that becomes weak and rapid with time.
  • Dilated pupils that react poorly to light.
  • Increased difficulty waking them or getting a response.

Responding to Suspected Alcohol Poisoning

If you suspect alcohol poisoning:

  • Place the individual in a recovery position to maintain an open airway and prevent choking on vomit.
  • Call for emergency medical help and contact the police if violence is a potential risk.
  • Keep the person warm with a coat or blanket.
  • Monitor their vital signs to ensure they continue breathing. Begin CPR if breathing stops.
  • Avoid inducing vomiting, but if they are sick, ensure you avoid contact with the vomit and turn them onto their side to prevent airway obstruction.
Learning Outcomes:
  • IPOSi Unit four LO5.1, 5.2, 5.3 & 5.4