Holiday hangover cures, myths

A standard dosage of ibuprofen and water works wonders to cure holiday hangovers.

Sarah Gonzalez

Holiday Hangover Hoaxes

Eggnog, champagne and a little schnapps with hot cocoa are likely to appear at parties and get-togethers during the holiday season. While a few glasses might help boost the holiday spirit, too many glasses will only reward with a pounding headache, a struggling liver and a few embarrassing photos.

Those who can’t control their excitement or consumption during the parade of ugly sweater parties, Secret Santas and New Year’s celebrations may think a Gatorade, root beer, bag of chips or a few aspirin will cure their morning pain.

Although a few tips can ease the symptoms, the truth about these “cures” can be as ugly as those sweaters.

Coffee and Aspirin

Taking Tylenol and drinking coffee are two of the biggest and most commonly used myths, said Ray Rodriguez, prevention specialist in the Prevention Services office of the Thielen Student Health Center. Tylenol breaks down into chemicals that react dangerously with alcohol and can cause liver damage; coffee only increases urine production and leads to dehydration.

“Just because you’re more alert doesn’t mean you’re less drunk,” he said. “You still have the same blood alcohol concentration, and you may feel worse later because the caffeine wears off before the alcohol does.”

Rodriguez describes alcohol as a drug that the body doesn’t want. Depending on the amount consumed, the body’s process takes time to break down the foreign chemicals and decrease blood concentration to expel urine, which causes dehydration.

“Time really is the only cure for a hangover, but to help prevent one, there are two things you can do,” he said. “You can limit the amount you drink, and you can eat and drink non-alcoholic beverages while drinking, alternating drinks.”

Words of Wisdom

Barbara Mack, associate professor in the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication, has her own, unusual hangover suggestion for the moderate merry makers and a few words for the light-headed lushes.

“People who drink until they throw up or pass out have no idea of how close to death they are,” she said. “No one should be that stupid. Binge drinkers are alcoholics who need treatment.”

“When I’m going to a party with alcohol, but I know I want to be riding my horse at 7 a.m. the next day, I put a glass of milk in the refrigerator. In a small bowl beside it are two Tums, a B-vitamin pill and one ibuprofen. Anyone using any non-steroidal anti-inflammatory — aspirin, acetominiphen, ibuprofen — should be very careful with them; all of them affect your liver. I take only one pill to minimize that effect. When I wake up to use the bathroom, I drink another glass of milk, which seems to calm my stomach. It seems to work well when you’ve had a glass of champagne more than is prudent.

“The most important thing I do is make sure I’m not behind the wheel of a car. Whether I’ve had one glass of wine or four during the course of a dinner party, I never, ever, ever have even one drink and drive.”

With these myths and facts revealed, every holiday party should be a success. Those extra drinks may make you think you’re as happy as Buddy the Elf at night, but too much booze will lead to Scrooge in the morning.