Hangover Help

CC-BY-SA-2.0 Dana Robinson

Hangover prevention and cures are basically myths, yet they persist. If you plan to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a pint, or two, remember to drink in moderation! There is little you can do to prevent a hangover except to drink in moderation. Once you’ve over-indulged and wake up the next morning with a hangover, rest, fluids and mild pain relievers are your best hope for feeling better. Some hangover remedies are not only ineffective, they may also be harmful. Think before you drink and enjoy your celebration with moderation.

Why does alcohol cause such misery? Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it removes fluids from your body which can lead to dehydration. Re-hydrating your body with water and sports drinks can help to alleviate some of the symptoms of a hangover. Your upset stomach may also be a result of drinking too much. Alcohol irritates the lining of your stomach, which leads to nausea.  Drink a glass of water between alcohol drinks to help prevent dehydration. Drinking a glass of water between alcohol drinks also slows you down so you don’t over-indulge.

One hangover cure that won’t go away is to treat a hangover with hair of the dog.  The worst thing you can do to alleviate your hangover symptoms is to drink more alcohol. A drink in the morning might help you feel better for a little while, but soon your symptoms can return worse than before you took that drink. Drink water to re-hydrate your body or have a glass of orange juice or tomato juice — without the vodka.

Another myth that won’t go away is eat a heavy, greasy breakfast to cure a hangover. There is no medical evidence to support the claim that greasy foods, such as sausage and bacon, help cure a hangover. In fact, heavy, greasy foods or spicy sausage might irritate your already upset stomach and make you feel worse. Despite your miserable symptoms you need to re-hydrate and fuel your body after a night of partying. Eat a light breakfast of oatmeal, cereal, banana or toast.

Strong coffee won’t cure a hangover or help sober you up. If you wake up with a hangover, you might want to skip the coffee. The caffeine in coffee causes your blood vessels to constrict, which can exacerbate your headache. Regular coffee drinkers might suffer withdrawal, which can make a hangover headache worse. Drink one cup of coffee to get your morning fix and then drink water. Wait about 1 hour and if you feel okay, maybe have a second cup of coffee but no more.

Avoid a hangover completely by drinking in moderation. You may feel like laying on the sofa or staying in bed all day if you have a hangover, and that is exactly what you should do. Rest, water and time are the only things that cure a hangover.

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