The year 2017 is over. Time to party!
Look, I think we all have finally realized that New Year’s Eve partying is overrated (or possibly I just aged out of it and my peer group is among the olds now). But just in case you missed the memo that putting pressure on a single day and requiring it be the height of entertainment usually just leads to disappointment, Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare is here to keep you from hating the drunk version of yourself the next morning.
In a news release sent out Friday, the local hospital had some helpful tips to overcoming your New Year’s Day hangover.
I must admit, my first response was, “We were the sixth-drunkest city in the country last year. We’re No. 1 in bars per capita. Do you really think we don’t know how to mitigate a hangover?”
One of my editors, however, reminded me that New Year’s Eve is the type of occasion that draws out the amateur drinkers, rather than regular alcoholics. Frankly, it just seems like a good idea to remind people that while getting buzzed can be fun on occasion, getting full-on wasted has consequences from the small — such as a hangover — to the large. Think long-term health problems like liver disease and torpedoed interpersonal relationships.
And so, with no further ado, here are Mayo Clinic’s reminders to drink responsibly and with the least damage to your health this holiday.
For those who might be confused, Mayo helpfully reminds us “a hangover includes symptoms of headache, fatigue, nausea and dizziness several hours after an episode of heavy drinking.”
I’d argue it doesn’t even necessarily require heavy drinking if you’re already a little dehydrated when you start, you haven’t eaten in a while or you’re a cheap drunk like me.
Mayo starts out with admittedly “hardly groundbreaking advice,” reminding people to drink more water, fruit juice or flat ginger ale to prevent dehydration, replenish vitamin C to build up energy and soothe the upset stomach that comes along with too much alcohol.
“Resist any temptation to treat your hangover with more alcohol. Adding more alcohol will only make you feel worse,” according to the release.
I’m really concerned that this needs to be said. Why would anyone think the cure to feeling terrible due to drinking too much alcohol is to then drink more alcohol? I mean, I’ve been hungover. I know you’re not really firing on all cylinders while trying to think through a pounding headache. But even I can figure out that if that thing made me feel really awful that doing more of that thing will not make me feel better.
On the other hand, getting some food in you will help, particularly if it’s something bland like toast or crackers. Those really help settle your stomach and prevent the nausea that goes along with the hangover.
Mayo also recommends taking a pain reliever, something I was honestly a little surprised to learn. I had always thought you were supposed to avoid acetaminophen because it’s hard on your liver, but according to the release, that’s only if you regularly drink alcohol to excess. Normally moderate should be fine as long as they stay under the recommended dose. If you’re worried, feel free to just take half a dose and see if that works.
The advice ends with going back to bed and just waiting.
“If you sleep long enough, your hangover may be gone when you awaken,” Mayo says.
Unsurprisingly, your body will bounce back with enough time.
If it doesn’t, talk to a doctor.
Sadly, Mayo reminded us that there is still no cure for a hangover. I know what you’re thinking, “How, in the year 2017, is there no cure for being hungover?!” But it remains the case. I did learn that people have been searching for one since 1950 (or, well, researchers have. I’m sure people have been at it since the invention of beer), and a 2005 study again failed to find one. It turns out that researchers have other priorities. I assume it’s on the backburner until a cure for cancer is discovered.
In the meantime, the only surefire way to avoid one is to, duh, not drink alcohol or drink only in moderation.
My recommendation is to skip all the parties, stay home, watch Netflix and ring in the 2018 in your jammies with someone you enjoy spending time with. To be quite honest, even were there a cure for hangovers, that’s still what I would recommend.