Police are looking into the death of a teenage girl who didn’t wake up after a homecoming house party Saturday night. The 16 year-old was found dead at a friend’s house. She attended North Denver High School. The homeowner said she thought the teen was sleeping on the couch when she left for work Sunday.
No determination has been made about the cause of death, but too often alcohol plays a role in the sudden death of a teen or young adult. If you are faced with a possible case of alcohol poisoning, take steps immediately. Alcohol poisoning symptoms include:
- Confusion, stupor
- Slow breathing (less than eight breaths a minute)
- Irregular breathing (a gap of more than 10 seconds between breaths)
- Blue-tinged skin or pale skin
- Low body temperature (hypothermia)
- Unconsciousness (“passing out”), and can’t be roused
All of these symptoms may not be present, seek help even if you are suspicious. A person who is unconscious or can’t be roused is at risk of dying. If you suspect that someone has alcohol poisoning seek immediate medical care. In an emergency, follow these suggestions:
If the person is unconscious, breathing less than eight times a minute or has repeated, uncontrolled vomiting, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. Keep in mind that even when someone is unconscious or has stopped drinking, alcohol continues to be released into the bloodstream and the level of alcohol in the body continues to rise.
Never assume that a person will “sleep off” alcohol poisoning.
If the person is conscious, call 800-222-1222 (in the U.S.), and you’ll automatically be routed to your local poison control center. The staff at the poison control center or emergency call center can instruct you as to whether you should take the person directly to a hospital. All calls to poison control centers are confidential.
Be prepared to provide information. If you know, be sure to tell hospital or emergency personnel the kind and amount of alcohol the person drank, and when.
Don’t leave an unconscious person alone. While waiting for help, don’t try to make the person vomit. Alcohol poisoning affects the way your gag reflex works. That means someone with alcohol poisoning may choke on his or her own vomit or accidentally inhale (aspirate) vomit into the lungs, which could cause a fatal lung injury.