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Acute Alcohol Intoxication: Care Instructions


You have had treatment to help your body rid itself of alcohol. Too much alcohol upsets the body's fluid balance. Your doctor may have given you fluids and vitamins.

For some people, drinking too much alcohol is a one-time event. For others, it is an ongoing problem. In either case, it is serious. It can be life-threatening.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Do not drink and drive.
  • Be safe with medicines. Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse advice line if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
  • If you were given medicine to prevent nausea, be sure to take it exactly as prescribed.
  • Before you take any medicine, tell your doctor if:
    • You have had a bad reaction to any medicines in the past.
    • You are taking other medicines, including over-the-counter ones, or have other health problems.
    • You are or could be pregnant.
  • Be prepared to have symptoms of a hangover in the next few days.
  • Drink plenty of liquids in the next few days.
  • Seek help if you need it to stop drinking. Getting counselling and joining a support group can help you stay sober. Try a support group such as Alcoholics Anonymous or SMART Recovery.
  • Avoid alcohol when you take medicines. It can react with many medicines and cause serious problems.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).
  • You have trouble breathing.
  • You feel confused or cannot think clearly.
  • You are seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there.
  • You are thinking about killing yourself or hurting others.
  • You have a seizure.
  • You vomit blood or what looks like coffee grounds.

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You can't stop vomiting.
  • You have symptoms of dehydration, such as:
    • Dry eyes and a dry mouth.
    • Passing only a little urine.
    • Feeling thirstier than usual.
  • You have new or worse symptoms of alcohol withdrawal such as:
    • Trembling, restlessness, or sweating.
    • Anxiety or feeling tense and edgy.
    • Headache or fast or irregular heartbeats.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • You need help to stop drinking.
  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.