Oktoberfest is two-week-long festival that originated in Munich, Germany. It is held in late September each year, leading up to the start of October. This year the festival began on September 21 and will end of October 5. During this period, festivalgoers drink large quantities of Bavarian Lager. Like St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo, Oktoberfest has been appropriated in America as a holiday that encourages heavy drinking, and binge drinking often ensues. As defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, binge drinking is any pattern of drinking which will result in a blood-alcohol level of .08 percent or higher.
Binge Drinking is Common, But Especially at Festivals
While binge drinking occurs frequently, people who do not normally binge drink might do so during these holidays. Consuming large amounts of alcohol in short period can also result is alcohol poisoning, also known as an alcohol overdose. People suffering from alcohol poisoning will show signs of confusion—if they are conscious—and may exhibit slow and irregular breathing, low body temperature, blue-tinged and clammy skin, vomiting and seizures. As there will be Oktoberfest celebrations this weekend in several New Hampshire towns, it is important to act if a friend or family member is experiencing alcohol poisoning. Here are 5 things to keep in mind.
1. Call 911
If a friend or family member has alcohol poisoning, they need medical attention immediately. Once medical professionals arrive, be prepared to provide any information regarding the patient’s symptoms and how much alcohol they have consumed. In a hospital setting, a patient with alcohol poisoning may need to receive intravenous fluids to hydrate, glucose to reverse hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), and/or have their stomach pumped to remove any remaining alcohol.
2. Keep Person Conscious, If Possible
Staying with the person and keeping them awake, if possible, is a good rule of thumb. If the person is conscious, keep them informed about what is going on, as people this heavily intoxicated might be aggressive. If they are unconscious, do not leave them alone to “rest” or “sleep.”
3. Get Person to Drink Water
If the person is conscious, encourage them to drink water until the paramedics arrive. A person who has consumed large quantities of alcohol will be quite dehydrated and may require fluids once they’ve arrived at the hospital.
4. Do Not Feed, or Give Them Caffeine
The idea that giving an intoxicated person caffeine or food will sober them up quickly is a myth. Giving a person with alcohol poisoning coffee, or another caffeinated beverage, may cause them to become more dehydrated, and giving that food may cause them to vomit.
5. Help Vomiting Person
If the person does begin to vomit, stay with them and help them maintain their posture and vomit into a receptacle. It is possible that an unconscious person will vomit. Make sure that they are positioned on their side to avoid choking or pulmonary aspiration, or inhaling vomit into lungs.
There is Help
If you or a loved one has a history of alcohol poisoning and have trouble controlling how much alcohol you consume once you start drinking, there is help. Blueprint Recovery Center offers three levels of outpatient care that range in intensity. From partial hospitalization, to long-term group therapy aftercare, our clinical staff will work with you to address the issues, stressors and triggers that caused you to drink alcohol or use drugs, and lay the groundwork for success in recovery. The easiest way to recover from alcoholism is to seek help. Call an admissions specialist today at 833-216-3079 to learn about our addiction treatment options and determine which one is right for you. Blueprint Recovery Center is a subsidiary of Amatus Recovery Centers, a division of Amatus Health, offers treatment for drug and alcohol addiction as well as co-occurring mental health disorders in facilities across the country. To learn more visit amatusrecoverycenters.com