Hangover Cures: Fact or Fiction
(NEW YORK) -- Want to kick back with a few drinks on New Year's Eve, but dreading the inevitable hangover? We've got a rundown of the facts and fiction behind common hangover remedies from aspirin to black coffee. But be warned, even the best hangover cure will do little if you down a whole case of champagne while ringing in 2014.
Take an Aspirin Before Bed
This advice is mostly true, according to medical experts. Drinking too much alcohol can trigger an inflammatory immune response in the body, causing aches and pains. Downing an aspirin or ibuprofen can help lessen that response. But experts say taking the pill before bed might do little because it can wear off before you wake up. So it might be best to take a pain reliever when you're finally up.
Additionally, be careful not to take acetaminophen for hangover relief. This common pain reliever is processed through the liver and can cause liver damage if you occasionally drink to excess, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Hair of the Dog
In spite of what you might have heard about a strong "hair of the dog" drink to help you through a hangover, experts say this one is fiction. Because alcohol is a diuretic, doctors say, having a spiked coffee or a breakfast beer when hung over can make you feel even lousier because you become more dehydrated. So no matter how good that first Bloody Mary of the year looks, remember to stay away until you're properly over your hangover.
A Strong Cup of Coffee Can Help You Sober Up
File this one under fiction. Doctors say if you've had a few too many drinks, even an entire pot of black coffee will not sober you up. Dr. Eric Goralnick, associate clinical director at the department of emergency medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, said the coffee won't sober you up, but it might help you perk up.
"Caffeine is a stimulant, it may wake you up and feel a little bit better," Goralnick said.
But because coffee is a diuretic, Goralnick says, it's best to balance the caffeine with another more hydrating drink like water when you're hung over and in need of coffee.
Try a Hearty, Greasy Breakfast to Soothe an Upset Stomach
This one is partly true. Too much alcohol can both irritate the stomach lining and lower blood sugar, meaning you might end up both nauseous and in need of a snack after a big night out. But rather than eating a giant greasy plate of food on an upset stomach, the Mayo Clinic recommends bland food items like toast and crackers that can help stabilize blood sugar without further irritating the stomach. If you want a little more flavor, bullion soup or another kind of broth can help replenish electrolytes and potassium.
Drink Water, Lots and Lots of Water
This one is unequivocally true. It might not be a total cure-all, but drinking water or other hydrating liquids will go a long way in helping you get over a hangover. Goralnick says when people come into the emergency room complaining of a hangover, they will often get a large cup of water as their initial treatment.
"Number one is alcohol is a diuretic so it really dehydrates you, dehydration that can cause some issues like headaches and being tired," Goralnick said.
In rare cases, the hangover or nausea is so bad a patient can't keep down liquid and will be rehydrated through an IV bag.
There is one more almost foolproof way to get over most hangovers: sleep. Hangovers usually wear off in about 24 hours, so taking a long nap might be the best way to survive a terrible hangover on the first day of the new year.
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