If you are thinking of going out for the New Year, where there are plenty of alcoholic beverages involved, you probably know that you will likely end up with one of those “Great Big Hangovers.” The holiday season (New Year’s Eve included) is one of the worst times for hangovers, especially if you don’t plan for one ahead of time.

What Exactly is a Hangover?

A hangover is the name giving to that irritable, tired, dizzy feeling you get when you wake from a night of heavy drinking. You can expect to feel fatigue, nausea, scratchy eyes, headache and other feelings of malaise when you have a hangover. And now that you are aware of the consequences, let’s define what a hangover actually is. It is a condition caused by hypoglycemia dehydration, vitamin B12 deficiency and Acetaldehyde intoxication.  In laymen’s terms, it is the dehydration and vitamin deficiency that gets you.

Of course, the best way to avoid this tired, lethargic feeling after a night of celebrating is to drink in moderation and prevent the hangover all together.  Although overindulging in alcohol is not the healthiest thing you can do, you can try to drink in a way that is the least harmful to your body this holiday season. This way you will be in better spirits when you start the new year off.

Replenish Liquids

Because the principle cause of a hangover is dehydration, drinking liquids before and after your alcohol intake can minimize the hangover symptoms.  After you finish your drinking binge, try drinking any of the popular sports drinks like Gatorade. The electrolytes and glucose contained in these beverages help rehydrate your body. Drink as much as you can without feeling overwhelmed, and if possible take a couple of aspirin before going to bed. You should also try to drink lots of water before and after your celebration.  This will keep you from becoming dehydrated.

Eat Up

If you eat before you start drinking, your body will absorb the alcohol much slower.  When you drink you also lose important vitamins, like vitamin B and C. By eating a piece of fruit after the party you can help replenish these vitamin deficiencies.

Drink the Right Drink

Avoid too many of the sweet, sugary alcoholic cocktails.  These types of alcoholic beverages disguise the taste of alcohol, so you end up drinking far too many, far too quickly.  Try adding 100% fruit juice instead of sugary pre-made mixes.  Juices like cranberry or orange will add vitamin C to your system, thereby minimizing the effect of the alcohol.

And if those don’t work . . . Self-Medicate

While you don’t want to take any heavy medication or prescriptions before, during or after the drinking celebration, you might want to consider taking aspirin or Alka Seltzer after the party to prevent some of the sour stomachs and headaches that accompany the average morning hangover.

By taking a few steps to prepare for a hangover, you may be able to eliminate it completely . . . or at least minimize these effects. However, the best true “hangover prevention” practice is to drink in moderation!

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