Doctors warn of alcohol poisoning during Tet

During Tet Lunar New Year, alcohol consumption rises and the number of drunken drivers causing traffic accidents always increases. During this time doctors warn against alcohol poisoning due to poor quality liquor.

Every year during Tet, consumption of liquor increases sharply, especially during the first days of Lunar New Year, when doctors and nurses at the Emergency Ward of Viet Duc Hospital in Hanoi are rushed off their feet with so many traffic accident cases being transferred from elsewhere.

Dr. Nguyen Tien Quyet, Viet Duc Hospital’s director, said the number of casualties in the first days of Tet this year doubled than on normal days. Until the first day of the lunar year, February 14, the hospital received nearly 700 emergency cases including 300 traffic accident cases, with many of them in critical condition from severe concussion. Many succumbed to their injuries and their relatives had to take them home for their funeral.

Moreover, alcohol poisoning is a threat to people in these days, said Dr. Nguyen Kim Son, deputy director of Bach Mai Hospital's Poison Control Center. His center admitted many people suffering from methanol poisoning from the age of 20 to 50.

Last year 63 people suffered liquor poisoning nationwide and seven of them died, accounting to 25 percent of the death toll from food poisoning, said Dr. Son.

According to statistics from the department, the number of poisoning cases from industrial alcohol had sharply increased in 2008-2011 compared to 2000-2008, and the number of mental patients due to alcohol addiction   rose four times in four years.

Recent inspections of many manufacturers of liquor showed excessive contents of aldehyde, furfurol, and methanol in several kinds of liquor. Of the three substances, methanol is the most dangerous as it may cause more deaths than the other two, Son said.

Medical experts advised people to control the level of alcohol intake. People should choose wine and alcohol beverages with clear indication of origin and avoid drinking spirits with alcohol content of 30 percent or higher or to drink more than 30 ml per day, he added.

Relatives of drunken men should make them vomit and drink a lot of water to dilute concentration of alcohol in a person's blood. When drunken men have symptoms of breathing failure and convulsion fits, one should take them to the nearest medical clinic.

By Nguyen Quoc – translated by Uyen Phuong

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