Self-management

Lifestyle and home remedies

Home remedies for alcohol poisoning won't work. This is an emergency situation.

Dangerous myths

You can't reverse the effects of alcohol poisoning, and you could actually make things worse through some actions. Here's what doesn't work:

  • Sleeping it off — you can lose consciousness while asleep
  • Black coffee or caffeine ― this does not counteract the effects of alcohol poisoning
  • A cold shower — the shock of cold can cause a loss of consciousness
  • Walking it off ― this does not increase the speed at which alcohol leaves your body

Prevention

To avoid alcohol poisoning:

  • Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger. When you do drink, enjoy your drink slowly.
  • Don't drink on an empty stomach. Having some food in your stomach may slow alcohol absorption somewhat, although it won't prevent alcohol poisoning if, for example, you're binge drinking.
  • Communicate with your teens. Talk to your teenagers about the dangers of alcohol, including binge drinking. Evidence suggests that children who are warned about alcohol by their parents and who report close relationships with their parents are less likely to start drinking.
  • Store products safely. If you have small children, store alcohol-containing products, including cosmetics, mouthwashes and medications, out of their reach. Use child-proof bathroom and kitchen cabinets to prevent access to household cleaners. Keep toxic items in your garage or storage area safely out of reach. Consider keeping alcoholic beverages under lock and key.
  • Get follow-up care. If you or your teen has been treated for alcohol poisoning, be sure to ask about follow-up care. Meeting with a health professional, particularly an experienced chemical dependency professional, can help you prevent future binge drinking.
July 21, 2016
References
  1. Overview of alcohol consumption. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption. Accessed June 20, 2016.
  2. Alcohol overdose: The dangers of drinking too much. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/AlcoholOverdoseFactsheet/Overdosefact.htm. Accessed June 20, 2016.
  3. A word about alcohol poisoning. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-poisoning. Accessed June 20, 2016.
  4. Alcohol poisoning deaths. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/alcohol-poisoning-deaths/. Accessed June 20, 2016.
  5. Drinking too much too fast can kill you. National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. https://www.ncadd.org/images/stories/PDF/DrinkingTooMuchTooFastCanKillYou-NCADD.pdf. Accessed June 20, 2016.
  6. Alcohol. American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/making-healthy-food-choices/alcohol.html. Accessed June 20, 2016.
  7. Cowan E, et al. Ethanol intoxication in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 20, 2016.
  8. Baum CR. Ethanol intoxication in children: Epidemiology, estimation of toxicity, and toxic effects. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 20, 2016.
  9. Alcohol toxicity and withdrawal. Merck Manual Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/special-subjects/recreational-drugs-and-intoxicants/alcohol-toxicity-and-withdrawal. Accessed June 20, 2016.
  10. Sivilotti MLA. Isopropyl alcohol poisoning. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 20, 2016.
  11. Sivilotti MLA, et al. Methanol and ethylene glycol poisoning. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 20, 2016.
  12. Risk and protective factors. Youth.gov. http://youth.gov/youth-topics/substance-abuse/risk-and-protective-factors-substance-use-abuse-and-dependence. Accessed June 20, 2016.
  13. Alcohol use in older people. National Institute on Aging. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/alcohol-use-older-people. Accessed June 21, 2016.