Change Your Choices

Change Your Life…Tips for a healthier you

Bonus Post! All About Hangovers…read this BEFORE you celebrate!

on December 31, 2011


Many of you are expecting to have a hangover on New Year’s Day and think it is no big deal.  Well, a hangover is a big deal when you hear it in medical terms:

A hangover is the body’s reaction to being poisoned with too much alcohol. Heavy drinking rocks the central nervous system. It tinkers with brain chemicals — leading to headache, dizziness, and nausea — and sends you running to the bathroom so often you become dehydrated. The morning-after price of this imbalance can include a pounding headache, fatigue, cotton mouth, queasy stomach — and a weakened immune system.

Now that you know what a hangover entails- learn what works and what doesn’t.  Thanks to WebMD for this information.

1- Ladies, sorry, but we really do suffer more. Why? Given the same drinks, women are more likely to be slammed with the effects of alcohol than men. Scientists say there’s good reason for this. Men have a higher percentage of water in their bodies, which helps dilute the alcohol they consume. When women drink the same amount, more alcohol builds up in the bloodstream.

2- Many people drink red wine for the health benefits but it can be too much of a good thing. Red wine contains tannins, compounds that are known to trigger headaches in some people. Malt liquors, like whiskey, also tend to produce more severe hangovers. If you’re worried about how you’ll feel in the morning, the gentlest choices are beer and clear liquors, such as vodka and gin.

3- We’ve all heard that you should drink liquor first, then switch to beer but it really makes no difference.   It’s not whether you have a shot of whiskey before or after your beer that’s important. It’s the amount of alcohol you consume (not the order of your drinks) that matters most. A standard drink — be it a 12-ounce glass of beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine, or a 1.5-ounce “shot” of distilled spirits — all contain roughly the same amount of alcohol.

4- For those of you who are watching your weight, don’t fall for the “eat pasta before bed” myth. This one is wrong on two counts. First, eating at bedtime (after you’re already drunk) is no help. Food has to be in your stomach before Happy Hour to have any impact. Second, while any food can slow the body’s absorption of alcohol, fat does it best. So go for steak or pizza before your first martini, and you might escape a hangover. One bedtime tip that does help — drink water to fight dehydration.

5- Everyone pops a couple of aspirin before bed after having a few too many, right?   Over-the-counter painkillers peak in about four hours, so the effect of a bedtime dose will be gone by morning. A better plan is to take the pills when you first wake up. Avoid taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) after a night of drinking. Alcohol disrupts how the liver processes acetaminophen, possibly leading to liver inflammation and permanent damage.

6- Does hair of the dog work?   More alcohol in the morning does nothing but postpone a hangover. The worst symptoms hit when blood-alcohol levels drop to zero. If you have a screwdriver at breakfast, this moment will just come later in the day. And if you find you can’t function without a wake-up cocktail, you should discuss the possibility of addiction with your doctor.

7- Don’t start the coffee pot.  Coffee leads to more dehydration and could make your hangover worse. After a night of drunkenness, it’s best to avoid anything with caffeine. Instead, sip water and sports drinks to counter dehydration and replace lost electrolytes. This is especially important if you experienced any vomiting.

Alcohol poisoning is no joke- it is a potentially deadly medical emergency. According to the CDC, approximately 79,000 people in the U.S. die each year from alcohol poisoning.   Symptoms of alcohol poisoning include:

  • Confusion, stupor
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Slow, irregular breathing
  • Low body temperature, bluish skin

It’s easy to blow off these symptoms as the price of partying hard, but if you see someone vomit multiple times or pass out after drinking heavily, there’s a risk of severe dehydration or brain damage. A visit to the nearest emergency room is urgently needed.

A big glass of water and a brisk walk is a great hangover cure so drag yourself out of the house!


There are lots of people who want you around for many more New Year’s celebrations so have fun but take care!




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