Alcohol Breath Test
The alcohol breath test is performed to estimate the concentration of alcohol in a person's blood at a given point of time. This is measured in terms of percentage mmol/L (milimoles per liter). It is also possible to measure this with the help of a handheld device. This home device is similar to the one that is used by the police. Policemen use this device to test people who are suspected of drunken driving.
If a breath alcohol device is calibrated and used according to the its usage instructions, it may estimate the percentage of alcohol present in the blood quite accurately. Alcohol gets directly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract into the bloodstream. Afterwards, it travels through the blood to all parts of the body, including the brain and the rest of the nervous system.
The results of a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test determine whether it is safe for a person to drive or not. However, obviously it cannot assess a person's actual driving ability under the influence of alcohol. It is not advisable to drive after drinking as this is one of the leading causes of road accidents all over the world. A person should ideally wait for about 15 minutes after consuming alcohol, before getting his BAC tested.
The BAC can be tested manually using a special mechanical device. The person to be tested is asked to blow into a balloon continuously to inflate it fully. The mouth of the balloon is then attached to the open end of a glass tube filled with yellow crystals that collectively form yellow bands. The air in the balloon is gradually allowed to escape into the tube for a minute. These crystals start turning green and appear as green bands if the air has molecules of alcohol present in it. On the basis of the number of green bands seen and the intensity of the color change, three ranges between 0.00 to 0.05, 0.05 to 0.10, and 0.10 to 0.15 roughly give an estimate of the BAC.
An electronic breath alcohol meter is a gadget that is more easy to use. All that one needs to do is to follow the instructions that come along with it. The meter has to be first kept for warming by switching it on. Then, the person to be tested is asked to take a deep breath and hold the mouthpiece of the gadget in his mouth tightly. Blowing into the gadget continuously for about 5 seconds immediately shows a digital reading in the display window. To do a test again, one needs to press the reset button. Some of these instruments have a traffic light display, whereby a green light indicates a BAC below 0.04, a yellow light is indicative of a BAC between 0.04 and 0.08, and a red light means that the BAC is above 0.08.
If you test your BAC at home, the value may be inaccurate as your device may not be correctly calibrated. Smoking a few minutes before the test can produce faulty results. Even though your BAC may be within permissible limits, consuming more alcohol within 30 minutes of getting tested, will cause your blood alcohol concentration to rise and increase the risk of accidents. The BAC test does not cause any pain or discomfort. Some people may feel slightly lightheaded because of blowing into the device hard. There are no other risks, complications, or side-effects associated with this test.
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