Heading off holiday hangover headaches

December 26, 2012

There is new science from local doctors which could help you "head off" that pain.

Dr. William Young and Dr. Michael Oshinsky have dealt with thousands of headaches, not their own, but as experts at Jefferson University's Headache Center.

They say hangover headaches are essentially migraines, but on both sides of the head at the same time.

Getting one depends on how your body metabolizes, or breaks down, alcohol.

To lessen the chance of a headache, don't just drink alcohol without having food and non-alcoholic drinks.

"It's a good idea to have some sugary substance, a little bit of calories, in your system. There's a tradition for honey and a tradition for tomato juice, but that's not really proven. Keep eating and keep hydrated," Dr. Young suggests.

In fact, some people swear by a glass of water for every glass of liquor they drink.

Although beer, wine and spirits can all cause hangovers, the doctors say dark or cloudy alcohol versus clear types can turn small headaches into raging ones.

"Pick the vodka, don't pick the bourbon," said Dr. Young. "But we believe that applies to red wine, versus white wine or other distilled alcohols."

The doctors also say there is evidence that taking ibuprofen, not acetaminophen, or Tylenol, about 6 hours after you stop drinking may block a headache.

They say there may be one blessing to hangovers. Science shows they are nature's way of preventing you from becoming an alcoholic.

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