Dr. Dave Hnida's Blog

Hung Up Over A Hangover

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(File photo by Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images)

(File photo by Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images)

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Written by Dr. Dave Hnida CBS4 Medical Editor Let’s face it, enjoy the way you feel this morning, since tomorrow morning may be one where you are praying for someone to put you out of your misery.

I just love reading about hangover “cures,” since they are nothing more than quackery at its best. Here’s what you need to know to ease a head that registers a 7.8 on the Richter scale.

Let’s start with the “Dont’s:”

– Don’t pre-load with acetaminophen, aspirin or ibuprofen. In combination with alcohol, they can cause liver damage or internal bleeding.

– Don’t think caffeine will save you. Nothing like being a wide-awake drunk with poor judgment.

– Don’t drink the congeners. What?!?! Congeners are the chemicals that give flavor to darker colored beverages such as whiskey, rum, and bourbon. Congeners also make hangovers worse (or trigger migraines in susceptible people). Clear booze such as vodka and gin are less likely to give you a hangover — unless you overindulge in those, of course.

– Women, don’t try to outdrink, or even keep up with, a guy. I’m not being sexist here — but there is a biochemical reason women can’t drink the same amount of alcohol as men … even if they are the same size and weight. The reason: females have less of a certain hormone which metabolizes alcohol, so drink for drink, it’s not a fair contest. (Guys, this doesn’t mean you’re better or tougher.)

– Don’t believe the old adage “beer before liquor, never sicker,” and vice-versa. Booze is booze, no matter the order it is imbibed.

– Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Putting food in after the fact won’t help slow the absorption of alcohol, but munching before drinking will keep your liver from getting overworked and angry.

Now, so “do’s:”

– Do drink a lot of water. For each alcoholic drink, have a glass of water. Dehydration is a main cause of a hangover, so it makes sense that being well-hydrated may lessen your risk of a pounding head. And don’t worry, there are bathrooms in bars, so you can drink a lot of water.

– Do consider eggs for breakfast the next morning. You’ll need food and eggs are a good choice since they contain lots of cysteine, an amino acid that is the liver’s friend.

– And finally, do be safe. 2011 is going to be a good year — let’s enjoy it together.

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