Hangover Cures, Dangers of Alcohol Poisoning, and What to Do in an Emergency
A hangover is not a very pleasant feeling. You wake up the day after a really hard drinking session and bang, there goes your head! It's not like a normal headache, which can consist of a pain over one eye, like a migraine, or a full headache that makes you want to go back to sleep.
No, a hangover headache is so much more than that. Lots more, in fact!
For a start, you probably didn't get a lot of sleep because the room has been spinning for most of the night, and you are scared that if you do fall asleep, the woozy feeling that makes you feel as though you are about to plunge of a cliff headfirst is going to make you throw up.
But you managed to get through the night. Now what?
Those first few minutes—from the second you open your eyes (or should I say one eye at a time), to the second your feet touch the floor—you just know it's going to be hell for the next few hours. So what to do?
Why do we get hangovers?
- Alcohol has a drying effect on your brain caused by the chemical ethanol.
- If you take too much alcohol, your liver which usually breaks down the chemical by using enzymes, will not be able to cope with so much going through your system. The by-product of this cleansing process is the fact that while your liver is trying to keep up with the continued flush through of ethanol, it cannot do its usual job of supplying glucose to your brain and body tissues.
- The result is that the energy that is usually supplied to the brain is not reaching it, and the weakness that you feel, along with fatigue is the price you pay for slugging down too many cocktails! But of course its not just spirits that can cause this trouble. Beer, if continuously drunk throughout the evening can have the same effect too. People sometimes think that beer is safer but this isn't necessarily true.
Also another reason why you are suffering so badly is because of the actual drink that you have consumed. There is a something called congeners, which are the by-products of fermentation. If you have a drink that contains this ingredient, or chemical, you will suffer more. The worse culprits are brandy, whisky, and other darker spirits. When it comes to wine, white is much less likely contain this chemical than red. Which is strange because I can drink red, but I feel terrible with white!
Cures for your hangover
First of all one of the best ways to avoid a hangover if you are planning on drinking is to make sure you alternate your alcohol with water or something fizzy such as Coca-Cola. This will give your liver a chance to produce glucose and keep your body balanced.
If you forget to do the alternate water drinking session, make sure that when you get home you drink at least two glasses of water. This will not only flush out the toxins caused by the alcohol but will hydrate your body too. Watering down the alcohol has got to be good. Simple as that.
When you stagger in the door and head for the sink or fridge to get some water, take time out to find a Vitamin C tablet. Preferably drink a Vitamin C drink. The reason being that Vitatim C speeds up the metabolism and clears the alcohol from your liver.
On waking up make sure that you eat something. We all know the joke about bacon and eggs, but eating a bit of toast, drinking tea with lots of sugar, and of course orange juice should start making you feel a bit better. On the subject of eggs, they actually do have a chemical reason for eating them on top of a hangover. Evidently they contain a cleaning up chemical that helps the liver to recover. Good little egg!
If you are going to take a painkiller make sure that you drink lots of water with it. You don’t want dizzy on top of your icky! Your body is trying to clean out the alcohol and the toxins, numbing them at the same time is probably a good idea for your head, but can cause you to feel sicker because of the chemical reaction. Try to hold on for at least an hour after eating. Trust me, these ideas are tried and well trusted!
Stand outside, and take deep breaths of cleansing fresh air. There is nothing better than oxygenating your body. This will speed up the process of cleansing, wake your brain up a bit, and make you feel slightly more human!
Eat a ginger biscuit/cookie. Or even better, chew on a piece of ginger. This is a great natural body balancer. In fact I always use it if I am going out on a boat, or flying. It really does settle your stomach. And as we know, if our bellies feel better, then the headache tends to go off quicker.
Tomato juice is probably one of the best hangover drinks that I have used. Every time I went to the pub the next day, the first thing I would do is down a tomato juice. It lines your stomach and makes you feel human again. Some people will tell you to have a ‘hair of the dog’ in other words add some more alcohol to the drink. Seriously guys, it just makes you want to carry on drinking in case you start getting another hangover! If that’s what you feel is right for you, then fine, but its not the alcohol that’s making you feel better, its actually the tomato juice!
Any stomach tablets such as Alka Seltzer which is nice and fizzy should take away that horrible sicky feeling. But don’t take too much it will just make you worse. The best idea is to just keep nibbling on toast. If you don’t like the idea of plain toast, add some fish. Yes, I know, yuck! But fish is good in Vitamin A and is a great anti oxidant.
Note About Charcoal
Do NOT try this at home without calling an ambulance! Charcoal cannot save your life on its own! This time we were lucky, and the ambulance arrived quickly. Always call for medical help. Not all doctors or paramedics agree that charcoal can help.
The dangers of too much alcohol
The one thing that you have to remember, and this is very important, is that drinking too much alcohol kills you! Alcohol poisoning is deadly unless treated in hospital. I know that may sound obvious, but hear me out. If you ever find someone crashed out because of too much alcohol, always check their breathing and vital signs. If in doubt, call an ambulance. Never ever leave them alone. If you are a long way from a town or hospital, try and make them sick.
Then, if possible get them to swallow charcoal tablets. These can be bought from any chemist or pharmacy. I did this a few years ago for someone who was staying with us. He stupidly drank too much, so I threw as many charcoal tablets I could find, down his throat. The paramedic commended me on that. He said I did the right thing. It's what they use in hospital to clear the alcohol or drugs out of the body. Evidently, it soaks up the poisons. Its also good for an overdose of aspirin and paracetamol too. Charcoal is also good for normal tummy upsets, so its good to keep them in your bathroom cabinet.
Reasons why drinking too much is dangerous
The main reason is that, if you have too much alcohol in your body it will overtake the amount of water in your system. When this happens, the alcohol will slow down and shut off your nervous system, causing complete failure of your heart, respiratory and circulatory functions. In other words, your body will not be able to work properly. This has happened to lots of people over the years. Take care with the amount you drink. Its vitally important. Your health is more important than getting sloshed just for the fun of it.
And of course another reason not to drink too much, is that if you fall asleep after a heavy drinking session, you could very well choke on your own vomit. Not a nice thing to think about, but it happens. Try and sit up for a while after drinking. Have a coffee or tea, and if in doubt, make yourself sick. Not nice, I know, but better to bring it up before you go to sleep, than when you are deeply unconscious.
A Final Note
When drinking alcohol do it safely and use common sense. It's your body, and your health. Just remember that.
- NHS Choices - http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/alcohol-poisoning/Pages/Introduction.aspx
- college drinking changing the culture -https://www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov/parentsandstudents/students/factsheets/factsaboutalcoholpoisoning.aspx
- MedicalNewsToday - http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/215627.php
Questions & Answers
I drank too much and I'm not feeling well, what can I take or drink to get rid of this hangover?
Well, everything in the above article for starters! But the best thing I always found that worked was to drink a tomato juice and Worcestershire sauce. It's the best stuff in the world!
© 2011 Nell Rose