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Hangover cures: for the people, by the people
msauvage purple
cleolinda
Important question. We're dealing with a hangover (not mine) over here, severe nausea in particular. I tried to administer water, knowing that hydration is key, but she nearly threw it up. What do we do? And is there a point where it's so bad she may need to go to the hospital?

ETA: She--Sister Girl (what? She's 22. I started having flashbacks to my own college days)--is still feeling pretty crappy, but she's had Gatorade and a Lunchable (hey, it was what she wanted), and she's up and about again. Turns out she'd already thrown up most of whatever at the original location; I was mostly overreacting concerned about her possibly having to go to the hospital for dehydration, but she seems to be holding fluids down and is at her boyfriend's now.

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I know when you're feeling nauseated, water typically actually makes you want to throw up. Try something lightly carbonated or perhaps a sports beverage, such as gatorade.

Yes there is a point.
You might want to try something like gatorade or saltines. And tell the person to just try small sips of water.
Another good option is cheap popcicles. Just licking that will help her get something into her.

From a nurse, I'd say that if you can't get fluids into her in the next hour or so, it might be worth a trip to the urgent care...the ER is probably overkill. As long as her mental state is ok, I wouldn't be too worried...she's probably just miserable. But she might be dehydrated, and if she can't take in fluids herself she's going to need some IV fluids.

Yeah, she seemed perfectly alert and lucid--just miserable, exactly. "Worse than the norovirus" was how she put it.

in my experience, it's best to try and rehydrate with like a sports drink not water. Vegetable juice helps as well. if she passes out, probably get her to the hospital, if she just falls asleep she'll be sweet. depends if you think she drank enough to get alcohol poisoning or not

Particular danger signs are:

Mental confusion, stupor, coma, or person cannot be roused.
Vomiting.
Seizures.
Slow breathing (fewer than eight breaths per minute).
Irregular breathing (10 seconds or more between breaths).
Hypothermia (low body temperature), bluish skin color, paleness.

From here which I checked a few weeks ago when I was worried about my own hangover.

Okay, good to know. And given that it's this late in the day (i.e., the drinking is long over), she's probably going to get better rather than worse from here on out. She was alert a while ago, and is purposely trying to sleep it off now; I'll keep checking on her to look for the other symptoms.

Here's a comprehensive article on alcohol poisoning on the Mayo Clinic's website.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/alcohol-poisoning/DS00861/DSECTION=1

Seconding the first comment. If you have something like Vitamin Water on hand, try that. Particularly the Revive flavor, which is basically designed for hangover recovery. If you don't have that, try Sprite or something similar. Stay away from caffeine.

Really, I would go get some Vitamin Water. And I hope it's okay!

Particularly the Revive flavor, which is basically designed for hangover recovery.

Okay, I can't decide if that's brilliant or hilarious. Maybe both.

Throwing up may help her feel better...

Try Gatorade instead of water - the electrolytes will help.

And I've always been successful with greasy food - which seems counterintuitive to the nausea, but the nausea is because of the alcohol irritates the stomach lining - the grease may help counter that.

I wouldn't be concerned about going to a doctor if her breathing is stable and she's alert.

I say keep trying small sips of something like Gatorade -- the electrolytes are what we're worried about, here. If she persists through today in being violently ill, yeah -- I'd take her to the doc. *keeps you in good thoughts*

ginger. ginger ginger ginger. it's magically delicious for a hangover. ginger candy seems to be best, real ginger tea works well too.

i second the popsicles comment, too. sometimes that's the only way to keep down even water.

I second the ginger. It's a natural anti-emetic. Ginger beer and ginger biscuits!

Bland starchy food (like crackers) in small doses, weak gatorade in sips, lie down somewhere cool and dark conveniently close to the toilet in case of vomiting - like a bathroom floor, really. Keep trying to take the water and the crackers. Try to sleep a little, but always make sure that if you vomit, you rinse your mouth out well and then drink at least another full glass of water (in sips, over several minutes) before going back to sleep.

As for when to go to the hospital: For a hangover? I wouldn't say ever, but I'm not a medical professional of any sort. It depends on how much was had and how long ago. The larger the first number and the smaller the second, the more likely you are to still be roaringly drunk, and that could be dangerous.

Well, she got scared it might be alcohol poisoning, but it sounds like if she's alert enough now to be concerned, it probably isn't.

Fourthing or fifthing the Gatorade/Vitamin Water recs.

A small sip every 5 minutes - and whatever beverage you use, make sure it's cold. Cold water stays down much better.

Put her in a tub of lukewarm water. The skin takes care of a great deal of the body's rehydration. Continue administering liquids, preferably something like Gatoraid.

I'm one of those extremely lucky folks that seem to never get hung over, no matter how much I drink. But I have helped a few friends through particularly bad ones (because I was the only one in any shape to help...lol), and I agree with most of the above about the gatorade (the lemon-lime flavor seems to be the easiest to keep down), or vitamin water (the specific one is the Revive like the person above said). I'll add that room-temp tends to be easier to handle than cold, as well. In small, but regular amounts. A sip or so every few minutes, until it's finished. If they go slowly, it's more likely to stay down.
Once some of the nausea has backed off a bit, campbells chicken soup (well watered down, for even more fluids), and some saltines for lunch will probably go over well.

If they just can't keep anything down at all, and you start to see any of the symptoms of alcohol poisoning that the other people mentioned it's time to head to the hospital. Better to be safe than sorry.

And next time tell her to split her drinks with water, and save herself the agony. ((hugs))

Chicken or beef bouillon or stock often works for me when I can't keep anything else down. Although not the last time I had a migraine - I ended up getting an anti-nausea medication from the doctor. (ETA: Gatorade type things typically make me *more* nauseated.)

One of the other recommendations for nausea is sucking on small ice chips. That slowly hydrates you.

Is the person on any other medications? If there's a possible drug interaction, it would probably be worth calling a doctor or going to the emergency room.

Edited at 2008-03-01 04:49 pm (UTC)

I don't know about the medications, but I was worried about that myself. I'll try to find out what, if anything, she took yesterday.

My husband and I discovered that Pedialyte works wonders on hangovers. It's designed for hydrating sick toddlers/children, but it certainly helped us out a few times. I recommend the orange-colored one.

Also, Vitamin Water can be useful as well. Gatorade just makes nausea worse, in my opinion. If nothing else, tell her to take small, brief sips of water, and maybe nibble at a saltine. (The carbs in the crackers will help reduce all that nasty stomach acid.)

Love Pedialyte. Not the clear, it's crap. But the orange and the grape are great. I drink it whenever I'm sick.

Sipping classic coke settles your stomach (don't ask me why) but it has to be CLASSIC coke, no diet, or coke zero or whatever. My roommate freshman year was often in the same place and I found that you sometimes just have to wait it out.

I'll let somebody with actual medical knowledge comment on the hospital question.

This looks to become one of the prime hangover cure threads on LJ. ;)

Here's what I do, when I'm beyond miserable for this reason -- 1) allow myself to throw up. It's gross, but your body is trying to flush toxins ASAP, so that helps. 2) force myself to drink as much water as I can handle. 3) eat something bland but a little salty, 4) Once I'm not -as- miserable, I drink as much tomato juice or V8 as I can handle (salt + lycopene = good)

Also, I can highly recommend in future chugging as much water as I can handle and taking 2 aspirin before I go to bed (immediately after alcohol ingestion), to head off the worst of it. Of course, this course might require a time machine.

Yeah, she already pretty much threw up everything at the original location; I'm more concerned now about her throwing up attempts at hydration. But you are right about the prevention part--when I used to actual drink enough to worry about it back in the day, I would always sit up with a couple of glasses of water and play solitaire or mahjongg on the computer until I felt reasonably sober, or at least hydrated. The worst I've ever felt the day after was tired, and if you go to bed late/early, that's to be expected.

Yeah, after the gatorade or vitamin water, coca cola is a great tummy-settler.

i'm usually a lurker but speaking from some serious hangover experience, gingerale and saltines or a whole wheat bagel (and advil) does the trick for me of course you never actually want to eat it but if you do it slowly, very slowly, it helps. My boyfriend says a beer really works but I wouldn't try it.

Yeah, I'd go with ginger ale instead of flat water - the carbonation combined with the ginger both help to settle the stomach. And also some carby crackers in small bites to soak up the stomach acid.

*sends good thoughts*

Agreeing with the ginger ale.

Also, if and when eating becomes possible, bananas. Potassium really helps with the detoxifying and hydrating that makes hangovers go away. (It's actually a major part of that "Revive" Vitamin Water.) I know it's a long shot, but at work(coffee/smoothie/shake joint), we make a hangover milkshake out of cold chamomile tea, banana, ginger(fresh or powder), and ice cream. I've seen it do wonders.
Or just toast and bananas. That works too.

(Deleted comment)
Black coffee will help her sober up, and also if she's lying down keep her head turned on the side, so she won't choke in case she has to vomit. I hope this helps!

Coffee does not make you sober. Coffee makes you AWAKE and still drunk and miserable. Worse, caffeine is a diuretic meaning your dehydration will get worse, and caffeine is also a vasoconstrictor, meaning your headache will get worse as the blood vessels shrink.

Coffee is *bad* for drunk people, unless you're trying to keep them awake (and miserable) enough to get them home and get a few litres of water in them before they pass out.

For a hangover, coffee will make your symptoms worse, but it often also accompanies eggs and bacon and toast, which, with water, will cure everything.

Pedialite, that works really well. I liked the bubble gum flavored.

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