Curing What Ails You: Prevention and Treatment for Hangovers to Keep Partying All Through Spring Break!
Seasoned Spring Breakers know the importance of endurance—if you want to maximize your Spring Break partying. Taking some simple steps before, during and after will help you keep the party going!
Probably the most important thing to remember before the party is to prep your body for what’s to come:
- Hydrate—with water of course! Alcohol causes dehydration so reduce the toll the booze will take on your body’s water stores by drinking water—and plenty of it—the day you plan to party. Drink water between drinks too—it’ll help the party last longer and keep you more hydrated—plus, it is one of the best things you can do to minimize a hangover. Don’t forget— drinking water between rounds is the trick to preventing a blackout (after all you want to remember what happened last night!) Increasing your hydration also means limiting beverages that include caffeine, a diuretic that dehydrates just like alcohol does. Focus on water, and possibly 100% fruit juices (or better yet, eat fresh fruits for vitamins and water).
- Eat to Party—seriously. Be sure to eat well throughout the day and focus on consuming fat and carbs to help line the stomach. Remember that doesn’t just mean cheese pizza (you still want to avoid a ‘freshman 15’ during the party)—fish, whole grains and avocados, among other foods, are also good fat and carb choices and cost fewer calories.
- Last Minute Stomach Prep—lining the stomach right before consuming alcohol by drinking milk or eating a candy bar will slow alcohol absorption by the body, allow you to party longer, and prevent you from getting wasted too fast.
DURING THE PARTY
- Keep Your Eye on One Gal—when you drink at least. Picking one type of alcohol and sticking with it all day or all night (or all day and all night) equals less pain in the morning. Mixing alcohol results in the potential for a worse hangover, faster intoxication and possible blackout.
- Sip it —sipping your drinks rather than guzzling also helps the booze to metabolize better which reduces hangover effects
- Skip it—bubbles that is. Carbonated mixers and drinks (like champagne) increase the rate of alcohol absorption in the blood (according to WebMD) and so the party ends sooner. Certain carbonated mixers (like colas) also have caffeine which can dehydrate too.
- See the Light—if you can see through it, prefer it. Lighter color alcohols (e.g. vodka or a clear rum) contain less of the bad ingredients (congeners) that contribute to worse hangovers, so prefer those to darker colored alcohols.
- Quality over Quantity—if you can manage, spend a little extra on your alcohol (at least on your personal bottle). There’s a reason it costs more—it’s better quality, and better quality means fewer of the bad ingredients (congeners) that give you a worse hangover.
- Sweeter isn’t Always Better—sugary drinks also help to deliver the hangover so avoid those when possible. Another good reason to avoid them: typically they have a higher calorie count than those with less sugar, so if you’re trying to watch your waistline, skip the sugar.
- Before I Lay Me Down to Sleep –take two aspirin (Bayer, St. Joseph’s) before going to bed to avert a headache—two more when you wake up if it’s still there. Remember to take asprin– not Acetaminophin – which can be harmful to the liver when combined with alcohol.
THE MORNING AFTER
If you take care of yourself the day before, the day after won’t be as horrible. When you still have clean up to do, try these treatments to cure what ails you:
- Rehydrate!—water, water, water. Like yesterday, stay away from coffee and things containing caffeine like cola. Fresh fruit and drinks with fresh fruit (like smoothies) are good because they contain water and smoothies will coat an upset stomach. Other excellent choices are those that contain a lot of B vitamins and potassium (choose VitaminWater’s Revive, Gatorade or PowerAde drinks) that also help replace lost electrolytes. Clear carbonated sodas like 7up, Sprite or Ginger Ale are also good for replacing electrolytes.
- Refuel—it’s true, grease and carbs are proven remedies for hangover pain (pizza, sausage, a cheeseburger, fried egg on a burger, etc.) One little known miracle is Saltine crackers. Saltine crackers can be a lifesaver when you are feeling nauseaous after drinking. Something about a few of those and a 7up will really help to cut the sick stomach and hangover funk. They are even great to include in your Pre party prep. Munching down a couple Saltines just before drinking will coat the stomach and help prevent upset. Plus, in an emergency you can grab some individually wrapped Saltines (the kind that come with your soup) free at any restaurant.
- Veg Out—some of our friends swear by certain veggies, Asparagus, broccoli and leafy greens like spinach or dark green lettuces are good sources of vitamins and also have enzymes that break down alcohol. Try to double team the booze and have these veggies before and after to help even more.
- Sweat it Out—hitting the gym, taking a run, or anything involving some cardio (afternoon delight?) will help move the toxins out faster. Avoid doing these in the sun because you’ll risk dehydration all over again.
- Sleep it Off—‘nuff said. Sleep is key. Get up, get some food, some fluids, grab a nap, and you’ll feel so much better!
- Hit the Spa—it’s true, aside from the steam room, which will flush out the toxins, a reflexology massage will help trigger key points throughout your body like your liver to help process the alcohol, or a Wasabi bath (which also metabolizes alcohol) can help remove toxins.
- Medicate—two aspirin before bed and two more when you wake up can help with the headache. Ibuprofen is great too, but AVOID acetaminophen (Tylenol and many other over the counter pain killers containing acetaminophen) it can cause damage to your organs when mixed with alcohol. A good morning-after treatment to try is Alka Seltzer.
- Homeopathic Help—aromatherapy like lavender or peppermint in oils or soaps helps relieve a headache, and Tiger Balm is amazing at relieving headaches: rub a little (only get the white formulation—the red one stains!) on your temples and along your sinus path on your forehead and relax—the Tiger Balm will help open the blood vessels and relieve a headache. It’s also a great treatment for sore muscles you might get during other spring break “activities.”
- Hair of the Dog—Some swear by this treatment, particularly when it contains mixtures of the above (e.g. tomatoes for the vitamins or fruit juice as in a mimosa or bloody mary) but make sure you’re still consuming water—the effects of the toxins will be felt sometime, but the hair of the dog could help soften the landing.