Anthony is a form 5 student who needed a break from all the studying and preparing for his O’Level GCE. He went to the store to get a drink, however, he didn’t have enough money to buy a commercial drink. On his way back a man proposed him a clear, colorless ‘drink’ saying it is alcohol. It looked so much like the one Anthony’s brothers drink at home. He bought it…had the drink and went to bed. The next day, he woke up BLIND. He was rushed to the hospital and upon investigations it was discovered he had methanol intoxication/poisoning. It is quite unfortunate and fortunate for Anthony at the same time. Unfortunate because his blindness is irreversible. Fortunate because his life was spared, many others do not make it…they die
Many do not know this but
Methanol is different from ethanol
The alcohol that is most at times consumed in alcoholic beverages is ethanol and it is in refined form. Ethanol and methanol look the same methanol and so it is easy to get confused and consume the wrong one.
Their use and effects are different. Methanol is used for industrial processes and research and not meant for consumption.
Methanol is usually consumed either accidentally or intentionally. Methylated spirits is when ethanol is made poisonous by adding methanol. Some go for methanol as it is cheaper than ethanol, some sellers use this to make more profits.
Homemade alcoholic beverages may also contain high amounts of methanol. Methanol is a by-product in the alcohol production process. Commercial manufacturers use special methods to separate methanol from ethanol, this however is not possible when brewing alcoholic drinks at home.
Moderate consumption of ethanol is ok (though current investigations are also proving otherwise). But there is NO SAFE AMOUNT OF METHANOL CONSUMPTION
Its poisoning effects take 12-24 hours to start showing up and the effects are usually irreversible. However if intoxication diagnosed 10-30 hours of ingestion, there is slight hope.
Treatment options include fomepizole or ethanol.
As soon as you suspect methanol poisoning, go to a nearby hospital.
- You can prevent methanol poisoning by purchasing from trusted retailers,
- Avoid homemade brews, or buying drink that seem way cheaper than the normal rates.
- Do not forget to also always read labels.
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