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Canadian researchers say ‘hyperventilating’ may help combat alcohol poisoning – Global News

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Canadian researchers say they’ve developed a game-changing method to treat alcohol poisoning — and it involves literally breathing alcohol out of the body by hyperventilating.

They say it’s three times faster than relying on the liver alone.

Lead researcher Joseph Fisher, a senior scientist at University Health Network’s Toronto General Hospital Research Institute, calls the technique a “no-brainer” that doesn’t have side effects and involves a very simple mechanical device to assist breathing.

READ MORE: Alcohol-related deaths remain a ‘silent epidemic’ in Canada

He says the process simply takes advantage of the fact that each exhalation, along with carbon dioxide, contains alcohol that has evaporated from the blood into the lungs.

“And the more breaths you take, the more evaporates. It’s that simple,” says Fisher.

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Of course hyperventilating causes its own issues — including light-headedness, tingling or numbness on hands and feet, and fainting.

Fisher’s approach relies on a device that administers the exact amount of carbon dioxide needed to maintain normal levels in the blood.

It’s the size of a small briefcase and uses a valve system, connecting tubes, a mask, and a small tank with compressed carbon dioxide.






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New study says alcohol warning labels cut consumption – May 4, 2020

Fisher says a small study involving five male volunteers proved the concept works, but more extensive clinical trials are needed.

He hopes it could one day serve as a powerful tool in any hospital emergency department.

“I used to be an emergency doc and I know they have big issues with patients who — on top of everything else — are also alcohol-intoxicated,” says Fisher.

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“Many of them, you don’t know what’s wrong with them. They’re coming in unconscious and highly alcohol-intoxicated so they’re hard to examine…. And there’s nothing you can do. You have to wait until their livers metabolize it.”

The study was released Thursday in the peer-reviewed journal Scientific Reports, published by Nature Research.

Subjects each drank about half a glass of vodka and were able to eliminate alcohol three times faster than through the liver alone, says Fisher.

Read more:
Alcoholism costs Canadians $15 billion a year, and that’s just the financial cost, say Manitoba experts

He says the approach is as effective as using a hyperbaric chamber, a much more involved set-up that delivers oxygen in a pressurized room or chamber.

Years ago, Fisher developed similar techniques to address carbon monoxide poisoning and eliminate anesthetics from the body.

He says he discounted the possibility hyperventilation could also be used to treat alcohol poisoning until about two years ago when a colleague suggested it.

Now, Fisher wonders if there are more ways to use the method.

“This is why my armpits are sweating — (it could save) the little kid that gets into the laundry room and drinks one of the solvents or something like that. Usually those kids are down for the count but this may be an approach,” he says, also musing on treating survivors of a fire who may have inhaled toxins.

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“I think it opens up a number of areas that people can look at to get rid of.”


Click to play video 'Any amount of alcohol is not safe to drink: study'



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Any amount of alcohol is not safe to drink: study


Any amount of alcohol is not safe to drink: study – Nov 6, 2018

As it stands, there is no treatment for alcohol intoxication, and there is no way to speed up the rate at which the liver works to clear alcohol from the body.

Fisher says the technique is especially efficient if intoxication is high, making it less useful after a casual night of drinking, for instance.

Nor does he recommend people try to hyperventilate on their own. The treatment is really designed for severe cases that can be life-threatening or endanger organs such as the liver or brain.

Dr. Laurent Brochard, a critical care physician and scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital, says the technique is “very smart” but agrees it requires real-world testing.

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“A guy who is drunk, it may be difficult even to put the mask on the face,” says Brochard, adding that if the patient has ingested other drugs, that might further complicate care.

“But I think it makes sense to try (it). We don’t have anything else.”

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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Confusion remains in B.C. on who can gather in restaurants under COVID-19 restrictions – Global News

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The B.C. Restaurant and Food Association says a new set of COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the provincial government has customers struggling to understand who they are allowed to dine with.

The association’s president Ian Tostenson says restaurants are trying to tell customers to use common sense and follow advice from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, but he says that advice has been unclear.

“There is a lot of confusion as to who can dine out as a result of the last couple of weeks with Dr. Henry,” Tostenson said Monday.

“The spirit of what Dr. Henry is saying is eat with people you trust, eat with people in your bubble. But if you try to define that too much it gets too hard.”

Read more:
‘Kicked when we’re down’: New COVID-19 restrictions hit already struggling B.C. restaurants

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The provincial orders issued last week require diners to only eat with someone from their own household. If someone is single, they can eat with one or two other people who make up their pandemic bubble.

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For example, three friends who are also married cannot all eat together at a restaurant. Another common mistake is parents cannot take their adult child and spouse for a meal at a restaurant if they live in separate households.

“For these two weeks we’re saying stick with your household bubble, and for some people that may mean one or two people who they have close contact with their pandemic bubble,” Henry said Monday.

The biggest challenge to uphold the order is enforcement.

Restaurants are being told not to ask diners whether they are following the rules. Instead, Henry is asking diners to know the rules themselves.


Click to play video 'Christmas events put ‘on hold’ by pandemic'



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Christmas events put ‘on hold’ by pandemic


Christmas events put ‘on hold’ by pandemic

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“It is not the restaurant’s responsibility to ask people who they live with, or where they are from,” Tostenson said.

“The more that we increase confusion and uncertainty in the marketplace the harder it is.”

There is growing concern from the province that British Columbians are trying to exploit loopholes in the order. The priority for the government is to crack down of social gatherings if that is in someone’s home or in a restaurant.

Read more:
Your questions about B.C.’s new COVID-19 measures answered

One thing enforcement can do is crack down on organized events in a restaurant like live music.

“There is a tendency to … see these like a speed limit and it says 80 (km/h), and maybe I can go 86. That’s not what these are,” Health Minister Adrian Dix said Monday.

“These are provincial health orders to help us stop the spread of a virus that is harming our loved ones in long-term care and causing great disruption in our society, and these are the things we’re doing together to stop that.”

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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'We are on the verge of significant bankruptcies': Restaurants and pubs struggle under B.C.'s new restrictions – CTV News Vancouver

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VANCOUVER —
New measures introduced last Thursday by Dr. Bonnie Henry meant to curb the spread of COVID-19 by limiting social interactions appear to be having the desired effect, to the detriment of businesses.

At a news conference on Nov. 19, Henry ordered B.C. residents to limit social gatherings to their immediate household, or a small pandemic bubble for those living alone.

“This applies in our homes, vacation rentals and in the community and in public venues, including those with less than 50 people in controlled settings,” Henry said.

She made no specific mention of restaurants or pubs, and Ian Tostenson with the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association said there has been confusion about who can dine out.

“We haven’t seen the latest health order, it hasn’t been written from last week, so as far as we’re concerned, we’re telling people go to a restaurant but go to a restaurant in the spirit of hanging with people you trust in a small bubble,” Tostenson said.

Tostenson estimates over the last 10 days, restaurants have lost about 30-40 per cent of their pandemic sales as those who were confused by the orders chose to stay home.

Henry’s order was an expansion of a previous regional order that only applied in B.C.’s Lower Mainland. During prior news conferences, Henry made clear that while dining out was encouraged, people should only do it with their households.

On Monday, Henry clarified again that she wants British Columbians to spend the next two weeks only socializing in person with others from their household, or a bubble of one or two designated people for those who live alone. That applies to going to restaurants.

The restrictions are also hitting bars and pubs hard. Jeff Guignard with the Alliance of Beverage Licensees estimated business dropped by 50 per cent of pandemic levels.

“So you have people who are down to 25 per cent of where they were in 2019 and that’s just not sustainable. We’re on the verge of significant bankruptcies right now,” he said.

Restrictions are scheduled tin place until Dec. 7.

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Here are all the events that are affected by the new COVID-19 orders in B.C. – BC News – Castanet.net

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Last week, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced a host of new restrictions in the wake of surging cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the province. 

B.C.’s top doctor stated that all British Columbians are ordered to stop any non-essential travel outside of their respective health regions until Dec. 7. Several other indoor activities will be put on hold, as well as all community-based gatherings. 

Today, Henry clarified what events and gatherings must be postponed under the new order during the daily COVID-19 news briefing. She underscored that all events are postponed, regardless of whether they are indoor or outdoor. That said, these events aren’t cancelled, but “on pause.”

She added that many of the province’s beloved Christmas and holiday events will be postponed, too. 

“If we are able to get into a place of control, then some of these lower-risk events may happen again,” said Henry. “But right now, we need to stop all of those opportunities for us to congregate, to go out and do things socially.”

Movie theatres have also been suspended, as well as events at bars and restaurants. However, bars and restaurants will remain open because they offer important ways to ensure that people get meals, explained Henry. 

Art galleries are permitted to have people browsing their collections on a daily basis as long as they have strict COVID-19 safety plans in place. But exhibition openings, larger gatherings and events at galleries must also be postponed. 

What is considered an event?

In the updated public health order, “event” refers to anything which gathers people together whether on a one-time, regular or irregular basis. All events and community-based gatherings as defined in the PHO order are temporarily suspended. 

The following events are not permitted under the new health order: 

  • a gathering in vacation accommodation
  • a private residence
  • banquet hall or another place
  • a party
  • worship service
  • ceremony or celebration of any type
  • reception
  • wedding (unless fewer than 10 people)
  • funeral (unless fewer than 10 people)
  • celebration of life (unless fewer than 10 people)
  • musical, theatrical or dance entertainment or performance
  • live band performance, disc jockey performance
  • strip dancing
  • comedic act
  • art show
  • magic show
  • puppet show
  • fashion show
  • book signing
  • reading
  • recitation
  • display
  • movie
  • film
  • meeting
  • conference
  • lecture
  • talk
  • educational presentation (except in a school or post-secondary educational institution)
  • auction
  • fundraising benefit
  • contest
  • competition
  • quiz
  • game
  • rally
  • festival
  • presentation
  • demonstration
  • athletic
  • sporting or other physical activity
  • exhibition
  • market or fair, including a trade fair, agricultural fair, seasonal fair or episodic indoor event that has as its primary purpose the sale of merchandise or services e.g. Christmas craft markets, home shows, antique fairs and the like and for certainty includes a gathering preceding or following another event.

Social gatherings and events

No social gatherings of any size at your residence with anyone other than your household or core bubble. For example:

  • Do not invite friends or extended family to your household 
  • Do not host gathering outdoors
  • Do not gather in your backyard
  • Do not have playdates for children

All events and community-based gatherings as defined in the PHO order – Gatherings and Events (PDF) are suspended. For example:

  • Galas
  • Musical or theatre performances
  • Seasonal activities
  • Silent auctions

The order is in effect from Nov. 19 at midnight to Dec. 7 at midnight.

Earlier today, Henry announced 1,933 new cases of COVID-19 in the province over three days, as well as 17 fatalities. 

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