Hangovers have been a thing for as long as human beings have had alcohol. A hangover is a severe headache or other after-effects caused by drinking excess alcohol. Here are some of the most common myths about hangovers.
‘The hair of the dog that done bit you’
One of the most widespread myths about hangovers is that the best cure for a hangover is ‘the hair of the dog that done bit you’ i.e., drinking a little more alcohol. This is truly the worst thing you can do unless you have no productive plans for the rest of your day. All drinking more alcohol will do is get you drunk again. Your hangover may also be worse because you’re essentially just adding fuel to the fire.
Liquor before beer
Maybe you’ve heard the phrase, ‘liquor before beer, in the clear. Beer before liquor, never sicker.’ It’s not true. Excessive drinking of any type of alcohol is dangerous and likely to result in a hangover.
Take pain relievers before
There’s a common belief that taking pain relievers before you start drinking alcohol will prevent hangovers. Don’t do that. It does not work, and it can be very dangerous. First, the curative effects of the painkiller will have worn out by the time you start developing hangover symptoms.
Second, in the case of aspirin, it actually increases the acid concentration in the stomach and does nothing to eliminate alcohol from the body. Aspirin in fact increases blood alcohol levels when taken before drinking which could worsen your hangover. A rule of thumb is you should not take any medication while drinking alcohol.
Taking painkillers, the morning off to combat the symptoms does work, knocking it down to a manageable level. Choose your painkiller of choice well and avoid Tylenol as it can cause liver damage when mixed with alcohol.
Dehydration causes hangovers
Drinking alcohol dehydrates the body but that’s not what causes hangovers. Several factors combine to create a hangover. There’s a drop in blood sugar which can cause shakiness, moodiness, and overall weakness. Excess stomach irritation courtesy of the alcohol causes a stomach ache, nausea, and vomiting. Poor sleep quality after drinking makes you tired and the headache is a result of your dilated blood vessels. People say drinking a lot of water before you start drinking alcohol or hydrating between drinks will prevent hangovers but that’s not the case. Excess alcohol causes hangovers even when mixed with water.
Sleep it off
When your entire body feels like you were run over by a truck, all you feel like doing is sleeping it off. As counterintuitive as it may seem, getting out and moving is the best thing you can do. Get up, walk, jog, and drink lots of water.
All the cures
There are a million hangover cures that people swear by, many of them pure myths. The most popular cures that don’t actually work include pounding water, drinking coffee, eating a greasy breakfast or carbs, taking anti-hangover pills, and sitting in a dark room.
There’s no way to prevent a hangover apart from drinking less. Moderation is your friend.
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