Health Tips: How To Avoid And Treat A Hangover

Although there's no cure for a hangover, here are remedies and ways to avoid and treat this illness caused by overindulgence in alcohol resulting in dehydration.

We've all been there. A night of overindulgence leads to a morning of not wanting to lift your head off the pillow. It's hard to tell what's worse, the upset stomach, the jackhammer pounding a staccato in your head or the dry mouth with a tongue feeling like sandpaper. Don't let the threat of a hangover prevent you from having a responsible night out with friends. By following a few simple rules, you can avoid a hangover, or at least treat one so you won't feel as terrible the next day.

Of course, the first rule of hangover avoidance is to not indulge at all. If the purpose of the evening is to enjoy yourself, you can have a good time no matter what the libation. Have some soda or juice or enjoy a "virgin" drink such as a pina colada or daiquiri; these are just as tasty without the added liquor. If you prefer not to teetotal, at least keep track of how much you're drinking. Know your limit and don't go over that limit. If one or two drinks are all you can handle, don't order a third. Not only are you asking for a hangover, but being drunk isn't very attractive and can only lead to embarrassment.

Be sure to drink a lot of water. Hangovers are caused by dehydration, and it's important to discourage alcohol's diuretic effect. In fact, it's recommended that for every glass of alcohol consumed, a glass of water or juice be consumed as well. Not only will this dilute the alcohol, it will also allow you to take a break between drinks. It would be a good idea to avoid other diuretics such as coffee. You want to stay as hydrated as possible when imbibing.

Try to eat a big meal prior to drinking. The food will absorb the booze, especially those foods high in fat and protein. Eat hors devours or other snacks throughout the course of the evening to absorb any additional alcohol.

If avoidance and big meals didn't work and you ended up with a hangover anyway, you can always try a hangover remedy. Just about everyone has a suggestion; some of them even work. If there's one thing you should avoid, however, it's Acetaminophen. Mixed with alcohol, pain relievers containing this ingredient can cause damage to the liver. If you absolutely have to get rid of your headache, other pain relievers, such as aspirin or Ibuprofen can be taken in moderation. Pain relievers are not recommended for those who drink heavily on a regular basis, as they will do more harm than good. If you're a regular drinker, it would be best to avoid pain relievers altogether. They might help your headache, but it they'll probably make your stomach feel a lot worse. So, what can you do?

Sleep it off. Get as much sleep as you possibly can. If you wake up feeling awful and can go back to bed, then by all means do so.

Once you're awake, the first thing you should do is get more water or electrolyte-replacing fluids such as Gatorade into your system. If you're hung-over, you're dehydrated and you need to deal with that first. Try to avoid coffee or carbonated or sweet drinks. They'll only cause you to become more dehydrated.

Working out is probably the last thing you want to do when you're hung-over, but exercise will get the circulation going and the blood pumping to your brain. It will also help rid your body of toxins. You don't have to pump iron at the gym, but a brisk walk can work wonders.

A Bloody Mary or at least a nice cold glass of tomato juice can also work wonders. The fructose in the juice aids in metabolizing the alcohol and that will help it go through your body quicker.

Eat. Load up especially on carbohydrates, which will help you increase the blood sugars that dropped while you were indulging. It will also make you feel better. Try to stay away from spicy food or anything tending to upset your stomach.

Try to avoid the "hair of the dog" remedy. Taking a shot of what caused the pain in the first place may make you feel a little better at first, but it will make you feel worse in the long run. There are also several over-the- counter remedies for hangovers, but many doctors agree that these don't work. They'd prefer to have you save your money and ride out the hangover.

No matter what you may have heard, there really is no "cure" for a hangover. If you truly want to avoid feeling lousy the morning after, don't drink or, at least, drink in moderation. (You should always drink responsibly anyway, and for goodness sakes, don't get behind the wheel of a car if you've indulged.) Eat a good meal before imbibing and keep hydrated. If you find you're suffering from a hangover on a regular basis, you may have a drinking problem and it would be wise to seek help. By drinking responsibly, you'll not only avoid a hangover; you'll avoid any embarrassment that comes with being drunk.

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