Quality health cover that meets your needs doesn’t need to be complicated or too expensive. We offer you great cover, easy claims, and above all we tell it like it is – Affinity Health

To find out more, give us a call today!

One of our qualified and friendly agents will be happy to assist you.

Call Center:

0861 11 00 33


086 607 9419

General Enquiries:


Find a Doctor/Dentist

or Dentist


Where can you go?


Near me

The Official National Department of Health COVID-19 Support Service: 060 012 3456 (WhatsApp)

Find a Doctor/Dentist

Near me


Where can you go?


Near me


Tips To Prevent Alcohol Poisoning And Promote Responsible Drinking Habits

Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality health cover, discusses alcohol poisoning and provides tips to promote responsible drinking habits.


“Alcohol, when enjoyed responsibly, can be a part of various social and cultural experiences. However, overindulgence can lead to detrimental consequences, including a life-threatening condition known as alcohol poisoning,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.


“When blood alcohol concentration reaches toxic levels, it can suppress the central nervous system, impair breathing, and even cause a coma or death.”

Causes and Factors Leading to Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol poisoning typically results from binge drinking or consuming a large quantity of alcohol within a short timeframe.


Several factors can contribute to the development of alcohol poisoning:


Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC): The concentration of alcohol in the bloodstream plays a crucial role in alcohol poisoning. When BAC rises rapidly, the body’s ability to metabolise alcohol becomes overwhelmed, leading to toxic effects.


Drinking Patterns: Engaging in excessive drinking patterns, such as heavy episodic drinking or prolonged alcohol abuse, increases the risk of alcohol poisoning. Consuming multiple alcoholic drinks in a short period can quickly elevate BAC to dangerous levels.


Alcohol Tolerance: Individuals with higher alcohol tolerance may consume more alcohol without immediately experiencing the typical signs of intoxication. However, this does not protect them from alcohol poisoning, as their bodies may still be unable to handle the toxic effects.

Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning

Recognising the signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning is crucial for early intervention and potentially life-saving measures. The symptoms can vary in severity, and they may include:


Confusion and Disorientation: Alcohol poisoning causes confusion and disorientation due to its depressive effects on the central nervous system. Excessive alcohol consumption disrupts neurotransmitters in the brain, leading to cognitive impairment. It also impairs cognitive processing, disrupts communication between brain regions, and can lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and hypoglycemia.


Vomiting: Excessive alcohol consumption often triggers the body’s defence mechanism, resulting in vomiting. While vomiting may offer temporary relief, it can also lead to further complications, such as choking on vomit or dehydration.


Slow or Irregular Breathing: Alcohol depresses the central nervous and respiratory nervous systems. In cases of alcohol poisoning, breathing may become slow, shallow, or irregular. In severe instances, it can even result in respiratory failure.


Hypothermia: Alcohol causes blood vessels to dilate, leading to rapid heat loss from the body. This can result in dangerously low body temperature, leading to life-threatening hypothermia.


Unconsciousness: Severe alcohol poisoning can cause unconsciousness or a stupor-like state where the affected individual is unresponsive and unable to be awakened.


Seizures: In some cases, alcohol poisoning can trigger seizures due to disrupting regular brain activity. Seizures pose severe risks, including physical injury and status epilepticus.

Complications and Long-Term Effects

Alcohol poisoning can have severe complications and long-term effects on an individual’s health:


Aspiration: Vomiting while unconscious can lead to aspiration, where stomach contents enter the lungs. This can result in aspiration pneumonia.


Organ Damage: Prolonged alcohol abuse, including episodes of alcohol poisoning, can cause significant damage to vital organs, especially the liver, and lead to alcoholic hepatitiscirrhosis, and liver failure.


Cardiovascular Issues: Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to high blood pressure, irregular heart rhythms, and an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.


Increased Susceptibility to Infections: Alcohol weakens the immune system, making individuals more vulnerable to infections and illnesses.

Preventive Measures and Responsible Drinking Habits

Prevention is crucial when it comes to alcohol poisoning. According to Affinity Health, responsible drinking habits can significantly reduce the risk. Here are some preventive measures and drinking guidelines you can follow:


Know Your Limits: Understand your alcohol tolerance and set limits for yourself. Avoid pushing beyond those limits to prevent overconsumption.


Pace Your Drinking: Take your time when consuming alcoholic beverages. Avoid rapid or excessive drinking, allowing your body to metabolise alcohol effectively.


Avoid Binge Drinking: Engage in moderate drinking instead of binge drinking. Spread your drinks out over a longer period, and be mindful of the alcohol content in each glass.


Stay Hydrated: Alcohol dehydrates the body, which can exacerbate the effects of alcohol poisoning and lead to severe hangovers. Drink water in between alcoholic beverages to maintain hydration.


Eat Before Drinking: Consuming a balanced meal before drinking helps slow down the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream, reducing the risk of rapid intoxication.


Avoid Mixing Alcohol and Medications: Certain medications can interact adversely with alcohol, leading to harmful effects. Consult with a healthcare professional to understand the potential interactions and risks.


Be a Responsible Host: If hosting a gathering where alcohol is served, ensure non-alcoholic options are available and encourage responsible drinking among guests. Offer transportation alternatives for those who should not drive.


Alcohol poisoning is a severe and potentially life-threatening condition resulting from consuming excessive amounts of alcohol within a short period. Recognising the symptoms and the risks associated with alcohol poisoning is vital for early intervention and seeking medical assistance promptly.


By adopting responsible drinking habits, setting limits, and being mindful of alcohol consumption, individuals can mitigate the risks of alcohol poisoning and promote a safer drinking culture. Remember, responsible drinking protects your health and the well-being of those around you.


“If you or someone you know struggles with alcohol, don’t hesitate to seek help. Numerous support systems, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, and professional services like therapists or counsellors, can provide the necessary guidance,” concludes Hewlett.

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading health cover provider, offering you a range of options at affordable rates, including access to the widest national provider network. We understand the importance of having medical insurance that meets your needs, budget, and lifestyle. Our healthcare products are designed to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service. For more information, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

If you would like to leave a comment


Get A Free Quote