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October 08, 2008

How To Avoid The Hangover

Mandistressed When you wake up on the couch (or in some cases walk-in closets), wearing a tutu and one sock with a mouth of sandpaper and a splitting headache, it’s often the consequence of a really good (or bad) night.

The dreaded hangover has already set in and you’re in for a long, miserable ride on the pain train. All kinds of people have their own methods of eliminating or at least reducing the hangover. Some mix honey with tea, others drink a glass of whatever their previous night’s poison was, and some may even consult witchdoctors to shrink their heads, chant hymnals and cleanse the body with the blood of herd animals. But do any of these methods work? Is there even a way to cure a hangover?  Yes and no. The only true guaranteed way to cure a hangover is to not drink — but with the right steps, you can drink and still avoid it.

To understand the hangover, it’s critical to understand the physiological effects of alcohol on the body. Acetaldehyde is your enemy. After consuming the alcohol, the body breaks down acetaldehyde and then converts it again to more comfortable chemicals. The acetaldehyde messes with that spongy thing known as your brain, and minerals slice and dice your nervous system, dehydration occurs (dry mouth) and low blood sugar speeds up the nausea you’re feeling. The hangovers vary depending on how much you drank in a specific time, your own innate ability to process the alcohol, how much you weigh and your age.

I’m sure you’ve heard all this before. Ever watch someone (who isn’t an alcoholic) over 40 drink three beers and have a hangover the next morning? And you had 8 and feel fine? It’s because they are old. Their bodies no longer process the alcohol as well. Ah, the joys of being young!

Tips to avoid the hangover: The Pregame

1)    Eat a full meal before you go out. The greasier, the better. Some fries at Nectar's will do the trick. It will absorb some of the alcohol so it doesn’t go directly into the blood stream.
2)    Drink some water. It’s important to replace what’s going out with something healthy going in. Notice that you pissed a lot of liquid? The more you pee and the less water you replace it with will equal a worse hangover. Every glass that you drink during the night is equal to two that you would have in the morning. Have a solid amount of water before you go out.

Tips to Avoid the Hangover: The Game

1)    Be careful with what you drink. Alcohol isn’t the only thing that makes you feel like shit. Congers are chemicals in fermented drinks that will lead to a hangover. The cheaper the drink, the more congers you’re likely to find. Red wine, bourbon, brandy, and scotch are among the most dangerous. See a common theme? They’re darker drinks. Cheap red wine is the worst, as it also contains thyramine, another poison. Vodka, which is distilled, is best for avoiding hangovers. White wine and gin are also solid choices (all things considered).
2)    Drink juice or water with the alcoholic drinks. Fruit juice often contains Vitamin-B, which will help replenish your system.
3)    Drink one drink per hour. Though your mouth can process multiple alcoholic drinks per hour, your liver can only process roughly a beer an hour.

Tips to Avoid the Hangover: The Postgame

1)    Take a piss. This seems obvious, and it is. It’s better than urinating in bed, if you do in fact make it to bed.
2)    Drink more water or Gatorade or something with electrolytes. Vitamin water is especially beneficial to keeping you hydrated.
3)    Don’t take Advil or any other kind of painkiller. It will only aggravate your symptoms and when mixed with alcohol could potentially explode your liver. Oxys are a no-no. It’s hard to recover from a liver implosion hangover. Best avoid that if possible.

Tips to Avoid the Hangover: The morning

1)    Go to bed and try to get eight hours of sleep or more.
2)    Don’t drink more alcohol!!!! The thought that drinking more will reverse the affects of last night are simply a myth. It just makes things worse. It’s better to take Tylenol.
3)    Avoid coffee, if possible. This is hard for caffeine addicts as they are often helpless, defeated individuals if they don’t have their coffee. It will only further dehydrate you.

So, to recap: The only true cure for the hangover is not to drink. But if that’s unavoidable, make sure to have a good meal before you head out and drink some water. When you go out try to avoid cheap, dark liquor, and keep yourself hydrated with water or fruit juice. Try to avoid having too much alcohol, of course. When you get home have some water or Gatorade — something along those lines. Don’t take any Advil and try to get a good amount of sleep. When you get up in the morning (or afternoon) avoid coffee and more alcohol and instead have an Advil and some fruit juice. Eggs, bananas, strawberries, toast and v8 would be a pretty good breakfast to sooth your pain and get your day started.

Hooray for smarter drinking!


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Seriously, do we need to encourage college students to drink more by drinking better and avoiding the hangover? I find the emphasis on drinking and partying in this blog to be a little alarming.

How about letting college students know about some interesting opportunities for getting involved in their communities instead?

James Kleimann

With all due respect, I don't think that this blog is making a statement that encourages drinking among college students. The posts cover politics, music, activism, national news, local news, college news, local businesses, and yes, drinking, among others. No one on this blog has endorsed drinking. We do, however, as college students, acknowledge that drinking does play a certain role in the life of a typical college student and we provide tips that will lead to safer, more responsible and healthier drinking.


I'm thinking specifically about the Bad Cats, Bad post from September. Crap about how to deal with the consequences once you've gotten caught being an ass at an off-campus party. How the cops are big dumb jerks when they respond to a noise complaint.

The content and smart-ass attitude of these two posts lowers the tone of the blog and Seven Days.

Not impressed.

Cathy Resmer

LH, there are now 50 posts on this blog.

Four of them are about partying and/or drinking, and two of those are news posts about the former Middlebury College president's campaign to lower the drinking age.

In other words, there are two posts on this blog about drinking and partying. And you're "alarmed" by this? Seriously?

Have you read this blog? There are now three posts about local politics, seven posts about local music, two posts about the current economic crisis and one post containing a student's satirical take on the development issues that Champlain College faces in its downtown Burlington neighborhood.

Heck, there was even a post last week about the great shows at the Flynn.

Also, the "Bad Cats" post doesn't say that the cops are "big dumb jerks" for responding to party complaints. Yes, the tone is a little sassy -- because it's written for college students, and presumably you want them to listen to this advice:

"Underclassmen: don't travel in groups over ten (five is really best), don't go into a party that's already overflowing onto the street, and avoid ragers on main roads (South Union, Pearl, College, etc). And be nice to our townie neighbors..."


Hi, Ugh, I liked! So clear and positively. Thanks Rufor

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