How do you treat alcohol poisoning?

If someone has alcohol poisoning, they may need lifesaving treatment right away. In a medical setting, healthcare professionals will use:

  • IV fluids: Providers give intravenous (IV) fluids to treat dehydration. Fluids can also increase blood sugar levels.
  • Oxygen: Providers can give oxygen using a nasal cannula (flexible tube clipped to the nose). They may put a small tube into the windpipe if a person has trouble breathing.
  • Stomach pumping: Using a tube, healthcare providers can clear the stomach of toxins.
  • Blood filtration: If kidneys aren’t able to do the job, providers may start dialysis to filter alcohol from the blood.

What should I do if I see someone who may have alcohol poisoning?

You can do several things to help someone who shows signs of alcohol poisoning:

  • Seek help: Call 911 for help.
  • Keep them awake: Stay with the person and keep them awake.
  • Provide water: Have them sip water to keep them hydrated if they are awake.
  • Keep them warm: Cover them with a warm blanket. Alcohol poisoning can cause hypothermia.
  • Explain your actions: Talk to them and let them know why you are doing things. Otherwise, they may become belligerent.
  • Prevent choking: If they are unconscious, turn them on their side. If the person vomits, they won’t choke on it.

When paramedics arrive, be ready to tell them what you can about the person. You might need to describe how much the person drank or what they’ve been doing since you called 911.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy