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How to Prevent, or Cure, Your Hangover This New Year's

Sort through the myths and remedies before you head out for a night of partying.

Are you thinking ahead about how much you want to have fun New Year's Eve but don't want to get a hangover? Or maybe you partied a little too much this weekend and now you have a whopper of a hangover. What to do?

Let's start with how to ward off a hangover in the first place.

How to prevent a hangover

The best advice, of course, is don't drink any alcohol or stay out late. That's the first thing. But if you do intend to drink and ring in the New Year, Henry Ford also offers tips on preventing a hangover:

  • Drink slowly and on a full stomach.
  • If you are a small person, the effects of alcohol consumption are greater on you than on a larger person, so don't try to keep up with your date.
  • Drink only in moderation. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism recommends that women have no more than one drink per day and men no more than two drinks per day. One drink is defined as a 12-ounce bottle of beer, a 4-ounce glass of wine, or a 1 1/2-ounce shot of liquor.
  • Drink a glass of water in between drinks containing alcohol. This will help you drink less alcohol, and will also decrease the dehydration associated with drinking alcohol.

Beaumont Hospital Emergency Center's Dr. Edward Walton is a big fan of drinking a lot of water and eating hardy foods to keep a nasty hangover away. "You should make sure that you don’t drink on an empty stomach and if you are drinking, try to have a glass of water after every drink,” Walton told WWJ. "... A lot of the symptoms of a hangover are actually related to dehydration."

Myths about hangovers

There are as many suggestions about why drinkers get hangovers and how to prevent or cure them as there are hangovers on New Year's morning. In fact, WebMD points out the myths about hangovers are "as varied and as fanciful as the cocktails that cause the dreaded syndrome."

So, should you eat pasta at bedtime or pop a pain pill before bed? Is a little "hair of the dog" a good idea to get over a hangover quickly? Will coffee cure all? WebMD sorts through 12 common hangover myths.

Hangover treatment

If you have a hangover, Henry Ford Health System offers the following suggestions for relief:

  • Consume foods and drinks that contain fructose, such as fruit juice or honey. There is some evidence that fructose will help your body burn the alcohol faster — that is, get the alcohol out of your body faster.
  • Eat well, if possible. Bouillon soup is good for replacing salt and potassium depleted by drinking alcohol.
  • Get plenty of rest. Most hangovers are gone within 24 hours. Remember, even if you feel good the morning after heavy drinking, the residual effects of alcohol will diminish your ability to perform at your best.
  • Avoid taking any medications for your hangover that contain acetaminophen (such as Tylenol), because it may cause liver damage when combined with alcohol.

Actress Gwyenth Paltrow even offers a few hangover tips, including drinking a Mercy health elixir packed with vitamins and minerals (either mixed with alcohol as a cocktail or after overindulging) as well as a hot and cold spa treatment. 

Some people swear by a greasy junk food meal and Coke to get past the worst of the pounding headache and queasy stomach, others recommend a hot shower or simply staying in bed with the covers over your head.

What is your best preventative or cure-all for a hangover?

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