So alcohol is kind of a thing in college. If you choose to drink, here are the things you really need to know:
- Measure your drinks: 1.5 oz of 80 proof liquor, 5 oz of wine, 12 oz of beer
- Count your drinks: no more than 4 in one night; 2 is average
- Pace yourself: About 1 drink an hour. You can alternate alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages if that helps.
- Eat food before and after
- Drink 32 oz of water between each drink and once before you go to bed
Simple enough, right?
Wanna know a little more? Check out this Prezi presentation (15-30 minutes)
Alcohol and the Smithie
- Set a drinking limit before you begin to drink. Alcohol clouds decision-making and increases confidence, a combination that often leads to risky situations.
- When going out to drink, plan to get home without driving. Use a designated driver, call a taxi, take the bus, or walk. Alcohol-related accidents account for more than 40% of all driving fatalities.
- Sip and enjoy your drink. Let the taste and good feeling linger. Drinking for speed and quantity skyrockets your BAC, diminishing the pleasurable effects of alcohol and increasing the likelihood of blackout, vomiting, or passing out.
- Avoid drinking games. Competitive drinking puts pressure on you to drink more than the right amount for you. Remember, BAC level per drink differs radically according to weight, gender and metabolic factors. Maximize the quality of your experience. Don’t try to match someone else.
- Remember, alcohol doesn’t necessarily improve sex. Often the opposite is true. Unwanted and unprotected sex can also occur under the influence of alcohol.
Just what happens to your body when you get alcohol poisoning? Alcohol turns off nerves that control involuntary actions such as breathing and the gag reflex (which prevents choking). A fatal dose of alcohol will eventually stop these functions.
It is common for someone who drank excessive alcohol to vomit since alcohol is an irritant to the stomach. There is then the danger of choking on vomit, which could cause death by asphyxiation in a person who is not conscious because of intoxication.
You should also know that a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) can continue to rise even while he or she is passed out. Even after a person stops drinking, alcohol in the stomach and intestine continues to enter the bloodstream and circulate throughout the body. It is dangerous to assume the person will be fine by sleeping it off.
Critical Signs for Alcohol Poisoning
- Mental confusion, stupor, coma, or person cannot be roused
- Vomiting—if the person can not keep even water down, go to the hospital immediately!
- Slow breathing (fewer than eight breaths per minute)
- Irregular breathing (10 seconds or more between breaths)
- Hypothermia (low body temperature), bluish fingernail beds and fingertips, paleness
What Should I Do If I Suspect Someone Has Alcohol Poisoning?
- Know the danger signals
- Do not wait for all symptoms to be present
- Be aware that a person who has passed out may die
- If there is any suspicion of an alcohol overdose, call 911 for help. Don’t try to guess the level of drunkenness
What Can Happen to Someone With Alcohol Poisoning That Goes Untreated?
- Victim chokes on his or her own vomit
- Breathing slows, becomes irregular, or stops
- Heart beats irregularly or stops
- Hypothermia (low body temperature)
- Hypoglycemia (too little blood sugar) leads to seizures
- Untreated severe dehydration from vomiting can cause seizures, permanent brain damage, or death
Even if the victim lives, an alcohol overdose can lead to irreversible brain damage. Rapid binge drinking (which often happens on a bet or a dare) is especially dangerous because the victim can ingest a fatal dose before becoming unconscious.
Don’t be afraid to seek medical help for a friend who has had too much to drink. Don’t worry that your friend may become angry or embarrassed—remember, you cared enough to help. Always be safe, not sorry.