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How To Deal With Hangovers

How To Deal With Hangovers

What exactly is a hangover? The term “hangover” refers to a range of unpleasant symptoms that are experienced after a night of excessive alcohol indulgence.

Symptoms of a hangover

Some common symptoms of a hangover include:

  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • stomach discomfort
  • body aches
  • dizziness
  • light-sensitivity
  • fatigue
  • shakiness
  • difficulty in concentrating
  • mood disturbances
  • sleep problems
  • dehydration

How to prevent a hangover

There are some preparations in the market that claim to reduce the severity of hangovers – even prevent them – when taken prior to and/or after alcohol intake. These preparations may contain certain vitamins, mainly vitamin C and vitamin B complex. Others consist of herbal blends as their main ingredients, such as milk thistle, artichoke or turmeric.

While such products may speed up the removal of alcohol from the body, they have not been subjected to extensive scientific studies. Hence, their effectiveness remains controversial and the results may vary between different individuals.

Drink moderately

Avoiding excessive alcohol consumption is the best way to prevent a hangover. Moderate alcohol consumption in men means alcohol intake should not exceed 2 standard drinks daily. Women should limit their alcohol to one standard drink daily.

A standard drink is defined as one of the following:

  • a can of beer measuring 220ml
  • a glass of wine measuring 100ml
  • a shot of spirits measuring 30ml

Try the following tips the next time you consume alcohol in order to minimise the effects of hangovers.

  • Consume alcohol only after meals to slow down its absorption.
  • Drink a glass of water after every glass of alcohol to minimise dehydration.
  • Refrain from "bottoms up" practices.

How to cure a hangover at home

Hangover symptoms usually last between 8 to 24 hours and will eventually fade away as long as no alcohol is consumed during the recovery period. Here are some tips that will help to speed up the recovery process.

  • Drink more water added with oral rehydration salts to correct the dehydration caused by alcohol.
  • Avoid any caffeinated beverages such as coffee as it may worsen the hangover symptoms.
  • Taking light meals, such low fat crackers, may reduce the shakes which are usually caused by low blood sugar.
  • Eating a banana may bring the body sugar level back to normal. Bananas also replenish the potassium salts that are lost.
  • Sufficient rest will eventually bring the hangover to an end as the body recovers.

Over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol are usually not recommended for relieving headaches or pain caused by hangovers as they may lead to liver damage when used after excessive alcohol intake. While aspirin and ibuprofen are often suggested as better alternatives to paracetamol, these painkillers have a tendency to cause gastric discomfort. When in doubt, always check with your healthcare professional for advice.

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