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How to handle hangovers

by Leila Salaverria

HEALTH experts advise that people avoid alcohol. But many just can’t help but drink beer, wine, liquor, or cocktails especially during parties and special occasions, like Christmas. 

And then the next day, they find it hard to get up because of headaches, stomach pain, or fatigue. These are some of the usual signs of a hangover. 

What is a hangover?

A hangover is a group of unpleasant signs and symptoms that people can get after drinking too much alcohol, according to the Mayo Clinic. 

These can interfere with their performance if these happen frequently, and can also cause problems at work. 

Its symptoms usually appear the day after a drinking spree and begin when the blood alcohol level drops significantly.  

The symptoms

Signs of a hangover could include the following: 

  • Fatigue and Weakness
  • Excessive thirst and dry mouth
  • Headaches and muscle aches
  • Nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain
  • Poor or decreased sleep
  • Increased sensitivity to light and sound
  • Dizziness
  • Shakiness
  • Decreased ability to concentrate
  • Mood disturbances
  • Rapid heartbeat 
  • A hangover can vary from person to person.

How to deal with the symptoms 

Internist and cardiologist Dr. Anthony “Tony” Leachon said those who wake up with a hangover usually feel okay after getting a hot shower, having breakfast, and something hot to drink.

But those who have drunk a lot would have to wait longer for the symptoms to wear off, he said. 

No hangover cure?

There have been suggested cures for hangovers, which include medicines, supplements and juices.

However, research results published in December 2021 found that there was little evidence to show that several types of hangover cures work.

The study took a look at trials that compared placebo to clove extract, tolfenamic acid, pyritinol, Hovenia dulcis fruit extract, L-cysteine, red ginseng and Korean pear juice, which have been touted as hangover cures. 

The study said that while there was evidence of statistically significant improvements across a range of alcohol-induced hangover symptoms when these are compared with a placebo, “all evidence was of very low quality.”

The evidence quality was downgraded because of concerns about the methodology and the reporting of the data, it said.

How to prevent a hangover

The best way not to get one is to avoid alcohol. 

But if people can’t avoid drinking, they should make sure they eat something before starting on the alcoholic drinks, according to Leachon. 

He said those who get hangovers are usually the ones who are not used to alcohol, and their symptoms will get worse if they drink it on an empty stomach. 

“Dapat pag umiinom ka ng alak, nakakakain ka ng maayos. Yung umiinom ng alak tapos alak lang, ang lakas ng hangover ng mga ‘yan,” he said. 

If people really don’t want to experience the symptoms of a hangover, they can opt for water, soda, or juice instead. 

There are many ways to quench their thirst, after all.

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