November 07, 2018
The holiday bar party was a blast. You had Scotch, Irish, tequila, and lager straight from the barrel to wash all the whiskeys down. The table spread wasn't bad either. There were cold cuts, pizza, chips, and some thinly sliced bacon whose name your alcohol-drenched brain could not comprehend, let alone pronounce (you later learned it was called prosciutto). To top it all off, you finally scored a number from the spicy señorita from Accounting that you’ve been eyeballing for a month already.
Everything was great, except that when you wake up, something isn’t right. Your bed has taken you hostage, it feels like someone tap danced over your head, there was bile in your stomach, and every drop of moisture has been depleted from your body. The worse? It’s only Thursday. And your boss is expecting that report on last quarters' lagging sales on his table this afternoon.
Hangover is one of those plagues we keep inflicting to ourselves. A 2000 study in the scientific journal Annals of Internal Medicine determined that the country loses a whopping $148 billion each year, due to hangovers, with the loss of $2,000 per working adult on an annual basis because of absence from work and poor job performance. It has been dated back to Ancient Egypt, but its absolute cure is still far away into future.
However, there are ways to make the tide easier for you. Here are nine things to you can do to survive a hangover and eight more you can forget. Because come on, you cannot just give up on the day and that girl needs someone to go to lunch with her.
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Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it helps your body get rid of water in the form of two dozen trips to the restroom every hour. The dehydration makes the symptoms of the hangover worse. Once you are able to regain your balance and your resolve, head on to the kitchen and down a glass or two of water. Keep a bottle of water with you throughout the day for continuous hydration. There will be more trips to the loo, but at least it is for the better.
Don’t: Drink More Alcohol
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Drinking more alcohol to cure a hangover is like treating a fist fight bruise by receiving more punches to the face. It is very counter-intuitive and can harm the body more. People think the “hair of the dog” cure works because alcohol iF numbing the pain, but this won’t be for long. Plus, is you get pleasure from drinking more, then that is a sign of alcohol addiction and thus, you need help.
The fatigue, weakness, nausea you are feeling right now is being caused by your body’s sugar level hitting rock bottom. Eating a healthy breakfast can help you restore this to normal levels. Great choices are eggs, leafy greens, oats, and fruits. Do this only, however, if you are able to calm your stomach already, lest you will only regurgitate them out.
Don’t: Go for Greasy Food
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Pizza and burger have been the go-to cure for hangovers. But they never work. Your stomach is already using too much energy trying to fix itself. Putting in fat-laden, sodium-drenched fast food chow will add more work to it. Consuming them BEFORE downing alcohol, however, can save you from the pain of next day’s hangover.
Do: Sip Bouillon Broth
During a hangover, you will not always be able to handle solid foods. For a more fragile stomach, sipping a bouillon broth will also do. It warms your tummy, giving you a sense of calmness and fullness, plus the water, salt, electrolytes, and nutrients will speed up your recovery.
A cup of espresso is detrimental on two levels. First, coffee is also a diuretic, which will expel the precious water you are trying to recover. Second, caffeine is known to aggravate headaches. And more headaches is the last thing you need.
Do: Sugar Up (With The Natural Kind)
Just because you need to restore your sugar level does not give you license to down a can of Coke. Sodas are carbonated, and will further exacerbate your already chaotic stomach. Reach for the fruit juice instead. Best choices are orange, grapefruit, and tomato juice. They are good combinations of sugar, electrolyte, and complex carbohydrates.
Don’t: Call for IV Bags
Yes, you read that. Profiteering start-ups are now making Intravenous fluids available for drunk people who hate the claustrophobic rooms of hospitals. First, there is no research telling that this helps and only hyped up by marketing and chances of making you look cool on Instagram. And second, shortages on IV fluids occur on regular basis in times of emergencies. Wasting this precious resource because you went overboard on Jack Daniels isn’t really right.
Do: Go Bananas
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Bananas are packed with potassium, which can aid in minimizing the symptoms of hangovers. Plus, the fiber can ease up the stomach, minimizing the trips to the toilet due to diarrhea, another inconvenient symptom of hangovers. Not a fan of bananas? Kiwis and avocados will give you the same benefits.
Don’t: Go All Meat
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Protein as already very hard to digest. For a body that is using much of its energy metabolizing alcohol, a meat fest as very counter-productive. Load up on some carbs to help replenish your sugar levels.
Do: Pop a Pill
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If all else fail and you need medicine to tide a headache and body pain, go for the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory which includes ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen.
Don’t: Reach for the Acetaminophen
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Stay away from acetaminophen such as Tylenol. Your liver is already struggling to metabolize the alcohol in your body. Acetaminophen will place further stress on your organ and can cause liver damage and death.
Do: Sweat It Out
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Before you put on your sneakers, you need to know that you cannot “sweat out” the alcohol you imbibed last night. It is already circulating on your blood will soon be taken care by your liver. However, exercising can make you feel better because of the endorphins being released to your body. Best bets are light jogs, power walks and pumping on machines.
Don’t: Go Heavy Weightlifting
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Stay away from intense exercises. You have yet to regain your balance, coordination, and focus. A barbell crashing over you because you botched up your bench press will give you another thing to worry about.
Do: Have Sex
This requires that you successfully went home with someone. Like exercise, this will not get rid of alcohol in your body, but the flood of feel-good hormones will be enough to minimize the symptoms.
Don’t: Have Unprotected Sex
This has nothing to do with treating a hangover. But just so you know, many regrettable problems occur doing things on the bed while drunk such as unwanted pregnancies, incurring sexually transmitted diseases, and so on. If you and your partner are not planning to have a child anytime soon, or you are going home with someone you’ve known only for two hours at most, being protected goes a long, long way.
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If everything failed, call in sick and stay in bed. Sometimes fighting a hangover just makes it worse. Like a bout of flu or cold, it takes time to subside. Resting for the whole day will give your body adequate time and resource to combat hangover’s symptoms. Trust us, you will recover in a day or two. Your girl will be happy to see you freshened up and your boss delighted that you do not fumble at work.
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