In the festive season, you might experience more alcohol intake. I thought it would be good to write a few words on alcohol again. It might be of use next year too.
Excruciating headaches, feeling sick, vomiting, dizziness and dehydration: anyone who’s ever drunk too much knows the consequences.
Alcohol makes you urinate more, which can lead to dehydration. Dehydration is what causes many of the symptoms of a hangover.
There are no cures for a hangover, but there are things you can do to avoid one and, things you can do to ease the symptoms.
How to avoid a hangover
• Don’t drink more than you know your body can cope with. Be careful.
• Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Eat before you go out! The food will help slow down the absorption of alcohol.
• Try to avoid dark-colored drinks. They contain natural chemicals which irritate blood vessels and tissue in the brain and can make a hangover worse.
• Drink water or non-fizzy soft drinks in between each alcoholic drink. Carbonated (fizzy) drinks speed up the absorption of alcohol.
• Drink water before and during your sleep.
If by the next morning you feel terrible, you probably didn’t follow my advice.
Dealing with a hangover means rehydrating the body. The best time to rehydrate is before going to sleep after a drinking session. Painkillers can help with headaches and muscle cramps.
Sweet foods may help you feel less trembly. In some cases, you might benefit from taking an antacid to settle your stomach.
Broth (meat or vegetable-based), is a good source of vitamins and minerals. It is also easy to digest.
Try to drink plenty of fluids (soda water and isotonic drinks)
Things to avoid
Drinking more alcohol does not help. Drinking in the morning is simply delaying the appearance of symptoms.
If you’ve had a heavy drinking episode (with or without a hangover) you should wait at least 48 hours before drinking any more alcohol.
A hangover makes that advice maybe easier to follow!
Low-risk drinking advice
To keep health risks from alcohol to a low level you are advised
• not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis
• spread your drinking over three or more days if you regularly drink as much as 14 units a week
• if you want to cut down, try to have several drink-free days each week
Fourteen units is equivalent to 6 pints of beer or 10 small glasses of wine.
Know your units of alcohol
You can keep track of how many units you’re drinking using the One You Drinks Tracker app available from iTunes and Google Play. I advise to speak to your trusted medical practitioner if you have any concerns about this challenging topic.
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Dr Steven Graaff, MD,MRCGP, the founder of Good Practice Clinic is a graduate of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Before completing his formal training in General Practice in the UK, he has worked in several hospitals, occupational health and general practice in the Netherlands and the UK. As a medical professional with international experience, Steven decided to start his own clinic – Good Practice, in Jakarta – www.goodpractice.co.id