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Carpe Weekend: Hangover remedies: fact or fiction?

Eating something greasy isn’t an effective way rid yourself hangover said Pam Davis clinical coordinator chemical dependency Silver Cross Hospital.

Eating something greasy isn’t an effective way to rid yourself of a hangover, said Pam Davis, clinical coordinator of chemical dependency at Silver Cross Hospital. | AP file photo

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ARE YOU A ‘MODERATE’ DRINKER?

What is considered “moderate” drinking?

Pam Davis, clinical coordinator of chemical dependency at Silver Cross Hospital, said men age 64 and younger can have four drinks a day or no more than 14 a week.

Men age 65 and older and women can have three drinks a day or no more than seven a week, she added.

A standard drink is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor, Davis said.

Updated: January 28, 2013 6:19AM



Ask any doctor for the best hangover remedy, and you’ll get a near-universal response: abstinence or, at the very least, moderation.

But coming up is New Year’s Eve, a time when even the most casual drinker can in one night consume enough alcohol to drop a fully grown rhinoceros and wake up the next day feeling like he or she has been trampled by one.

If you’re dead set on drinking, what’s the best way to stave off the upset stomach, pounding headache and overall nastiness of the hangover that inevitably follows?

Searching for a definitive answer, I asked Pam Davis, clinical coordinator of chemical dependency at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox, to either confirm or debunk some of the most commonly cited hangover remedies.

Bring on the grease

Wake up after a night of heavy drinking feeling like death?

Perhaps you can sink your teeth into a greasy hamburger or slice of bacon for a quick hangover respite, but that’s not a good idea, Davis said.

“The grease is going to upset your stomach and produce more acid,” she said. “I can’t even think of any physiological reason why greasy food would help.”

Jolt your system

Think you can fight that hangover by drinking a strong cup of coffee or taking a cold shower?

Nope.

“Caffeine and coffee raises blood pressure, which actually can make the hangover worse,” Davis said.

“I tell people when they drink coffee or take a shower to sober up, they’re just a wide-awake, clean drunk.”

Take two and call me in the morning

Surely a glass of water and two aspirin before bedtime can help tame that morning hangover, right?

In part. Water and sports drinks like Gatorade can help to replenish fluids lost during frequent trips to the bathroom, Davis said.

“Part of the reason you get a hangover is because even the cells in the brain become dehydrated,” Davis said.

“Your body starts sending a message to the bladder to eliminate fluid rather than to reabsorb it into the body, so water ... is going to help.”

Aspirin is a different story.

“Aspirin is really hard on the stomach, and your stomach is already upset,” Davis said. “Aspirin’s probably not the best thing to do.”

Sweatin’ to the oldies

Perhaps you’re someone who tries to make the hangover go away through strenuous exercise or by taking a steam.

“You’re already dehydrated, so would you want to exercise? No, and it could even be dangerous,” Davis said.

“I get a lot of people who work out and drink heavily, and that’s so incongruent. You’re pushing the dehydration that way.

“You want to be taking fluids in, and exercising or a sauna would be the opposite — taking them out.”

Hair today, gone tomorrow?

There are those who adhere to the law of “hair of the dog.” That is drinking again in the morning to help abate your hangover.

This is perhaps the worst of the supposed hangover remedies, Davis said.

“(Alcoholics) will drink a drink to get rid of their withdrawal symptoms … but in terms of helping cure a hangover, it’s just going to delay the effects of a hangover,” she said.

The final word

Not surprisingly, Davis recommends moderation as the key to preventing hangovers.

“They’ve done peer-reviewed journal articles that were a meta-analysis of tons of different hangover remedies, and none of them have stood up in the research as showing any efficacy,” she said.

Essentially, drink responsibly and you’ll have no need to kick Mr. Hangover to the curb in the first place.

More information is with the chemical dependency department at Silver Cross Hospital at (815) 300-7214.

RED VS. WHITE

What’s better: dark or light alcohols?

“Red wines, bourbon, whiskey — the dark liquors — are more likely to cause hangovers,” said Pam Davis, clinical coordinator of chemical dependency at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox.

“There’s something called congeners in dark drinks, and our bodies don’t like them. It’s just an impurity that happens during the fermentation process, and they cause hangovers for a lot of people.

“People don’t get hangovers as much with the lighter drinks like white wine and vodka.”



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