Everything you always wanted to know about hangovers
After a party overflowing with good booze, when you drink 1.5 g of alcohol per kg of body weight (3 to 5 drinks for a person weighing 60 kg), chances are, you’ll end up with a headache, nausea and bothersome digestive symptoms.
This is what is commonly known as “hangover”.
The symptoms of “veisalgia” (the medical term for hangover) occur several hours after drinking, when the blood alcohol level touches “0”. A hangover is frequently accompanied by rapid heartbeat, drop in blood pressure when standing up and cognitive impairments. Light drinkers are the ones who suffer the most. Although this is a widespread phenomenon, very little scientific study has been conducted unfortunately.
WHAT TO DO IN CASE OF A HANGOVER:
- Plenty of water to rehydrate yourself, even if you’re not thirsty.
- Or juice, if you prefer, but avoid very acidic ones like orange juice.
- Other good alternatives are vegetable or tomato juice, and mint or ginger tisanes.
- Have some slightly salty and not too greasy broth, even if you’re not hungry.
- Crackers or some toast with a little honey or maple syrup.
- Eat a banana and poached egg as soon as you can, since they get digested very easily.
- Rest and sleep for as long as possible, to give your liver time to absorb the alcohol.
- An anti-inflammatory drug such as Ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®, or a generic drug) to relieve your headache.
- Alcohol, beverages, highly acidic foods, and foods high in fat.
- Also tea, coffee, and anything that contains caffeine, such as cola, or chocolate.
- Acetylsalicylic acid (Aspirin® or a generic drug) that would irritate the stomach, and acetaminophen (Tylenol®, Atasol® or a generic drug) that would overburden your already overworked liver.
- Certain products, derived from a plant called kudzu (Pueraria lobata), are now being sold to prevent hangovers. But since they are frequently made from the roots instead of flowers, they do more harm than good.
HOW TO PREVENT HANGOVERS:
- Before going on a drinking binge, eat foods rich in fat because fat slows down the absorption of alcohol and protects the digestive tract against acids produced during the digestion of alcohol.
- Take 1 g of vitamin C before drinking because it could speed up elimination of alcohol.
- Try to drink slowly throughout the party; don’t consume more than one drink per hour.
- Have water, juice or a soft drink between each glass of alcohol.
- Avoid fizzy alcoholic beverages and cocktails containing soda as the tiny bubbles accelerate the effects of alcohol.
- Take breaks to eat a little, but stay away from salty food. Honey apparently speeds up the alcohol elimination process.
- Avoid being around for hours on end in places that are noisy, full of smoke or brightly lit.