What happens if you drink rubbing alcohol?

Answer

Some of the effects of drinking rubbing alcohol include intoxication, slurred speech, vomiting and unsteadiness, says the National Capital Poison Center. Rubbing alcohol irritates the digestive tract and becomes toxic when ingested in large amounts.

Generally, consuming small amounts of rubbing alcohol leads to only a few symptoms, explains the National Capital Poison Center. It causes a feeling of intoxication and it is a lot more potent than ethyl alcohol, which is the type of alcohol found in liquor. Drinking large amounts of rubbing alcohol tends to cause diarrhea, pain, vomiting and bleeding in the stomach, subsequently followed by low blood pressure, dehydration, shock and coma. Inhaling rubbing alcohol is also toxic, which is why it must be used in a properly ventilated area.

Lydia Krause discusses on Healthline that isopropyl alcohol poisoning occurs when the liver can no longer handle the amount of isopropyl alcohol in the body. Around 30 percent of this alcohol is excreted unchanged through the kidneys, while the remaining 70 percent is broken down into acetone by the alcohol dehydrogenase. The acetone exits the body through the kidneys or lungs. When a person swallows too much, poisoning usually occurs. In some cases, the symptoms do not appear for several hours after ingestion. Symptoms of severe poisoning include serious breathing problems, severe gastritis and coma.

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