Why you should watch out for alcohol poisoning this festive season

During the month of December, people tend to get off work, spend some time at there homes, join parties with friends and families among other luxuries.  During this time you feel like want to spend your time in joyful moods, drink, eat and share conversations with your friends or colleagues.
Joseph Kamugisha
Joseph Kamugisha

During the month of December, people tend to get off work, spend some time at there homes, join parties with friends and families among other luxuries.  During this time you feel like want to spend your time in joyful moods, drink, eat and share conversations with your friends or colleagues.

However, time exposure and opportunities during joyous moods should not affect your feeding lifestyle. In a party you will have highly cooked flied foods as well as all sorts of beverages at your disposal to eat and drink respectively.

But sometimes you might find yourself in a situation whereby you have restriction to fatty foods or high calorie or cholesterol foods. Once you cannot restrict yourself from meals that could harm your health, then parties or joyous periods can turn into periods of distress.

Alcohol is the most popular drink in the world and sometimes you might find yourself to have taken a lot of drink than required or expected. It is a drink that contains chemical substances and nutrients that easily cross the blood-brain barrier and automatically has a direct influence to the brain function and entire body system.

Alcohol poisoning is so common in festive days. A person is considered to have alcohol poison when he has consumed a high quantity than his body can regulate and usually this occurs over a short period of time.

During festive days, healthcare providers tend to receive many patients with signs and symptoms of alcohol syndrome.

In alcohol syndrome, some problems result from the direct effect of alcohol toxins to the brain, while others a rise from the body loss of key mineral components like potassium through vomits.

A patient who has been intoxicated willingly or unwillingly will have associated symptoms and signs or problems that will guide clinicians to decide the best medical care to provide. Although alcohol has varying amounts of ethanol concentration, the quantity of the drink consumed is paramount to bring changes in the body system.

Some alcohols have high concentrations of ethanol than others. Liquor tends to contain higher concentrations of ethanol than wine, and wine contain higher concentrations of ethanol than beer. Some patients will present with minor symptoms such as vomiting with abundant alcoholic smell, misconception of things, especially associated with reduced cognitive factor damaged by alcoholic toxins, coldness or low temperature, abnormal breath patterns and increased heart rhythms.

In some severe cases, the patient can suffer progressive or severe loss of consciousness that sometimes leads into sub-comatose state. Such patients will always have problems with swallowing and the health care provider will use intra-venous line to dilute and clean alcohol overdose in blood.

Health care providers usually monitor alcohol concentration in blood and attempt to measure the severity of signs and symptoms of the patient. Based on the severity of the disease, health care providers might decide to monitor the patient until his alcohol levels in blood drops. Some severely affected patients can require intubation with a tube inserted into their windpipe or trachea to help with breathing. Patients are also commonly given intravenous fluids to control body hydration and replace lost minerals from the body. The blood glucose and vitamin levels are also constantly checked.

Some severely ill patients with alcohol syndrome may require a urinary catheter especially when they become incontinent. In some cases the patient’s gastro-intestinal tract can be cleaned by use of fluids that are flushed through a tube that goes down the digestive system openings either through the mouth or sometimes through the nose.

Under regulatory body systems; the removal of alcoholic toxins is done by the liver and when you take in large amounts in a short period of time, the liver will suffer an overload and possible dysfunction.

This is why people with liver problems are not advised to take any dose of alcohol. Alcoholic changes strongly correlate with the amount of alcohol taken. For example, the liver can only detoxify one unit of alcohol per hour in blood, when you take two or more units per hour, this adds extra-alcohol toxins in the bloodstream.

This also means the faster you take in alcohol the quicker you suffer effects of high alcohol circulation in blood.

A different scenario remains on the impact of a particular alcoholic drink to the body system since different drinks contain varying ethanol concentrations. Some studies on alcohol effects shows that people tend to have different motor and cognitive problems based on the type of alcohol drink taken.

There are theories that reveal how expectations of a drinker are linked to the alcohol effects on motor and cognitive functions of a person. By this theory, it means that people who expect to be less affected by alcohol are likely to suffer fewer effects than those who expect adverse effects from the drink.

Dr Joseph Kamugisha is a resident oncologist in Jerusalem, Israel

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