The lights are too bright. The noises are too loud. Your head’s spinning. Your stomach’s in turmoil. No, it’s not the flu. You have a hangover. You had a few too many yesterday, and now you’re paying for it.
Beware the Miracle Remedy
So, what can you do to feel better? You’ve probably heard of hangover cures that some people swear by. The truth is, they don’t work. The following “cures” will not rid you of your hangover.
- Sip a cup of Joe: All that caffeine is guaranteed to kick your hangover to the curb, right? Wrong. The alcohol is still in your system. Your liver still has to process it. It does so at roughly one drink per hour. Coffee doesn’t speed up this detoxification, it just makes you wide awake for the process.
- Wash it off: Surely a brisk shower will send a shock to your system that helps you get rid of this hangover? Nope. No matter how cold or hot, the shower doesn’t affect the level of alcohol in your system. Just like coffee, the refreshing water may wake you up, but it doesn’t speed up the process. But you will smell nicer.
- Take two and call me in the morning: Popping a couple of aspirin before you hit the mattress to sleep it off won’t fend off a hangover. By the time you wake up, the aspirin wears off, plus they’re hard on your stomach and liver. That’s why acetaminophen (Tylenol) typically has warnings on the label about combining it with alcohol. When your head starts pounding in the morning, you can take some ibuprofen if needed. Just know that it only dulls the pain – not cures the hangover.
- “Hair of the dog”: The notion that a bit of the potion that got you into this mess will get you back out is simply not true. It’s just as effective as the practice from which the saying originated: An ancient therapy for rabies was to place a bit of hair from the rabid dog onto its own bite wound. Yeah – that didn’t work. And having another drink won’t cure your hangover. Here’s why people think it works. The symptoms you feel (headache, thirst, fatigue, nausea, dizziness) develop when your blood alcohol content spikes, then falls sharply after you stop drinking. When your level hits zero, the symptoms hit their peak. When you take another drink, you put alcohol back into your body, which masks the symptoms – temporarily. It’s more of a delay tactic than a cure.
It’s All About Time
It’s understandable that these and many other myths have circulated over the centuries. When you feel terrible, you want to speed up the process of recovery. You want to feel better – now. Unfortunately, scientists tell us there is really only one cure for a hangover: time.
Additional Reading: No Surprise – Study Finds Avoiding Alcohol is the Only Hangover Prevention
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