Know the Signs of Alcohol Overdose

St. Patrick’s Day, a holiday often marked by one (or more) too many drinks. But experts warn that simple holiday fun can quickly turn deadly when alcohol is involved.

The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) offered these reminders about the dangers of alcohol overdose and urged everyone to drink responsibly or not at all.

Binge or high-intensity drinking — drinking too much too quickly — can lead to significant impairment in motor coordination, decision-making, impulse control and other functions, according to the NIAAA. Continuing to drink despite clear signs of significant impairment can lead to an overdose.

Signs of an alcohol overdose include mental confusion, difficulty remaining conscious, vomiting, seizure, slow heart rate, and slow or irregular breathing (fewer than eight breaths per minute or 10 seconds or more between breaths). Other signs are clammy skin, extremely low body temperature that might include pale or bluish skin and dulled responses, such as no gag reflex. The gag reflex can prevent choking.