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How to get rid of (and prevent) a hangover

Updated on January 1, 2016

Chances are that if you're here it's because you're suffering from a bad hangover and are looking for a cure, so I'll leave the hangover prevention section until the end to save your sanity.

Drink plenty of water

You hangover is, in the main, the result of massive dehydration. As such, your brain has shrunk which is why you're feeling so bad. In addition your heart rate was increased, you slept very badly (even though you think you slept well) and your liver is desperately trying to rid your system of the toxins which include ethanol (alcohol) and other nasty things.

Drinking plenty of water will help rehydrate you. It will also help your system flush out all the nasty things. It will help to rehydrate your lips and mouth and make you feel generally better.

Take paracetamol & codeine (but not aspirin)

I've tried all number of things for a hangover and for me it's a paracetamol & codeine pill which works the best. Codeine should only be used once in a while as it can become addictive if used for more than 3 days so you may wish to consult your pharmacist.

Avoid aspirin or an other anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen; both of which can be upset the stomach in in some cases even induce bleeding.

Try Alka Seltzer

Some people swear by Alka Seltzer. If you can get some, give it a go, but remember not to mix it with other medications. Read the label.

Avoid coffee, tea and any caffeinated drinks

Caffeine is a diuretic. This means that it promotes (and in some cases forces) your body to pass water.

Don't drink caffeine at all when you are hungover. I know you think that the caffeine will give you the kick you need, but it will be short-lived and you will feel worse in the long run.

Also remember that some soft drinks, including cola, contain caffeine. Stick to water or natural juices.

Drink natural fruit juices

Natural fruit juices contain natural sugar (glucose) which will help your system with vital energy. The are also caffeine free and contain vitamins and minerals to help promote your recovery.

Eat some bananas or cantaloupes

If you can face it, eat some bananas or cantaloupes. Bananas and cantaloupes are high in potassium which is a vital electrolyte to help your body recover from your low blood-sugar content. They're also gentle on the stomach.

Other foods high in potassium include spinach, apricots and natural yoghurt.

Eat a hearty meal including carbohydrates and fat

When you drink large amounts of alcohol the blood-sugar levels in your system go crazy and by the time you finish your blood-sugar is almost zero.

Having a hearty meal, such as an all-day breakfast, will help restore your bodies sugar levels using carbohydrates (your body converts them to sugar). If you can handle it, try and eat a decent meal which may include bacon, sausages, bread, beans, etc. Eggs and steak are also good as they contain protein and fat.

Fats will also help your body; try to have natural fats. Triglycerides, cholesterol and other essential fatty acids are vital to help your system recover.

Take a vitamin supplement

During your drinking session your body lost a lot of vital vitamins and minerals.

Take a decent vitamin supplement. In addition you might like to include a decent dose of Omega 3 Fish Oil and an iron supplement. Speak to your pharmacist about the correct types and dosages for you.

Avoid chocolate

You may want to reach for the sugary delights of chocolate but it's not a good call - chocolate contains caffeine. Avoid it.

Have a long, warm shower

Whilst having a shower won't cure your hangover it will certainly make you feel better.You'll be surprised how improved you'll feel afterwards.

Brushing your teeth will also help your mouth feel fresh and save your friends from having to smell your alcohol enthused breath.

Get some fresh air

Many people say that a brisk walk in fresh air helps reduce the symptoms of a hangover, especially in a cold environment. If you can, go for a walk.

Moisturise

Moisturising won't get rid of a hangover, but it will help if your dry face and lips have been moisturised. Sometimes help rid yourself of a hangover can include making yourself feel better - and every little counts.

Keep yourself occupied

There's nothing worse that sitting around feeling sorry for yourself so try to keep yourself occupied. Perhaps read a book, wash the car or do some light DIY.

Have sex

Sexual intercourse is well documented to help improve your general wellbeing and it can help with a hangover, also:

  • it can lower your blood pressure
  • it helps with pain
  • it boosts the immune system
  • it releases hormones which help reduce negative thoughts

If all else fails...rest

If you're so bad that even lifting your head from the pillow hurts, stay in bed and rest. Just make sure you drink water regularly to help rehydrate yourself.

Hangover prevention

No one needs to be lectured when they're hungover, but this points might help you prevent a hangover next time:

  1. Drinking lots of water during your drinking session will help keep you hydrated and help flush toxins out of your system as you go. Consider drinking a glass of water after every other alcoholic drink
  2. Drink alcoholic drinks with natural mixers - try vodka and orange instead of coke (coke is diuretic)
  3. Switch to a lower alcohol drink - try a 4% beer instead of 5%
  4. Don't mix your drinks
  5. Stick to decent quality drinks, such a a triple-filtered vodka instead of a cheaper version
  6. Drink a large glass of water before you go to bed - hydration is the name of the game here
  7. Take a glass of water to bed with you - you'll need it during the night

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