WASHINGTON — For too many, Jan. 1 marks their first (if not their only) hangover of the year.
The headache, the nausea, the general malaise — that dreaded condition makes it impossible to enjoy the televised parades and bowl games. Everything is too bright and too loud and
turn off that light and shut up, please.
#$%@ is the price you pay for proudly screaming an offkey “Auld Lang Syne” in public.
But can’t you get a discount on that price? How can you have some guaranteed no-consequences fun on New Year’s Eve?
“If I had the answer to that, I’d probably be on my yacht somewhere,” said Dr. Robert Shesser, chairman of the emergency medicine department at George Washington University’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences. “We don’t have the answers to what has been shown to be scientifically effective at reducing the hangover.”
Sigh. Noted. So while science has yet to find that hangover cure, you’re left with anecdotal methods (a few of which have some scientific backing).
Just take what you can get.
Here’s a rundown of ways that you can both 1) prepare for the big night and 2) survive The Day After.
Before (and during … and after …)
Water is your primary weapon against dehydration. Hydrate well with several glasses of water (eight 8 oz. glasses at least) before you go out. While you’re imbibing, try to drink a glass of water with each boozy drink you have. Also: Drink a nice-sized glass before you go to sleep.
And in the morning, drink some more when you wake up.
“Keeping reasonably well hydrated and drinking in moderation would be my recommendation,” Shesser said.
As you already know, putting a decent meal in your stomach before you hit the bar will slow down the absorption of alcohol and add some of the nutrients that you lose while partying. Hummus with veggies is among some foods you should seek out.
Opting for clear alcohols like vodka could help a little bit, too. They lack a culprit often found in darker spirits like whiskey: congeners, which can worsen the hangover as the body breaks them down.
Know your limitations. One more drink can mean one too many. Just switch to a soft drink (or more water) if you’re not ready to go home.
Be mindful of the damage that can come from heavy alcohol use. “Binge drinking is dangerous both from a health standpoint and from a behavioral standpoint,” Shesser said.
So you don’t feel like getting up and taking on the day? Your instincts are sound. Time is a sure-fire treatment for a hangover, and the longer you’re asleep, the better you’ll probably feel when you wake up.
Just make sure to drink some water once your eyes open. Keep it next to the bed.
Be careful with that over-the-counter pain medication: Acetaminophen (i.e., Tylenol) can damage your liver if you’re a frequent drinker, so consider ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen (Aleve) or aspirin.
Please note, though, that aspirin could upset that already-tender tummy.
Can’t hurt to try it, Part 2: A lemon-lime carbonated beverage like Sprite is a traditional go-to in the morning, and there might be something to that. A 2013 study in China concluded that Sprite could speed up the breakdown of an ethanol metabolite that is thought to cause those beloved hangover symptoms.
That is just one study, of course, so don’t be surprised if you’re still ralphing afterward.
(Shea Walsh/AP Images for Sprite & Habitat for Humanity)
Can’t hurt to try it, Part 3: If you’re able to hold them down, have some eggs for breakfast. They contain an amino acid that helps break down the chemicals that contribute to that hangover.
Can’t hurt to try it, Part 4: And once you’ve fried up those eggs, throw some bacon on the skillet. According to one study from a few years back (and remember — it’s just one study), bacon speeds up the metabolism and contains amino acids that “clear the head.”
Can’t hurt to try it, Part 5: It’s hard to hydrate when you can’t hold anything down, so why not bypass the tummy with an IV? Schedule an appointment with The I.V. Doc, and they’ll hook you up in the morning. Dr. Diva Nagula tried the service himself one year ago in Las Vegas, and he liked it so much that he brought a franchise to D.C.
“My physician friends and myself have always joked around about starting a business like this when we were in training,” he told WTOP, “because I think one time or another a physician has received infusions or intravenous therapies and has always known the benefits of it.”
Such fluid treatment “does seem to improve people clinically faster than giving it by mouth,” said Shesser, who added that it might be a placebo effect. But with 20 locations (and celebrity clients), it’s fair to say that The I.V. Doc might be on to something.
The IV Doc
(Getty Images/Paul Tearle)
(Getty Images/Paul Tearle)
“Cures” that aren’t
Here are a few to avoid …
*Hair of the dog: A breakfast cocktail? Just say no: It’s only delaying the inevitable.
*Coffee: Like alcohol, it further dehydrates you, which is exactly what you do not need.
*Herbal remedies: Prickly pear cactus and artichokes are good eating — and probably not useful in this situation.
(AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
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