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Dr. Manny: IV treatments for hangovers are a scam

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Marilyn Nieves

Why didn’t I think of this scam? Here I am being too busy delivering babies and operating on people, when I could actually be running around looking for celebrities willing to pay me hundreds of dollars for an intravenous (IV) medical cocktail to relieve their hangovers. These IV “cures” supposedly deliver vitamins and antioxidants to help ease your hangover or boost your immune system.

Listen, if you’ve ever been to the doctor – whether for a stomach virus or the flu or generalized aches and pains — what does the doctor tell you to do? Drink more liquids. Even your grandmother tells you, “If you want to feel good, my sweetheart, have some of my chicken soup.”

Now, for the most part, good hydration can be achieved with the oral intake of liquids. But in the hospital setting, under certain clinical criteria, we physicians may administer intravenous hydration— usually a combination of a little bit of sugar and a little bit of salt and sometimes some electrolytes.

However, we keep tabs, believe it or not, on hourly rates of infusion, how much urine you’re putting out and the total intravenous fluids that we give you. The reason that we do this is to avoid fluid overload. Large, acute infusions of fluid, like taking a whole liter of fluid in half an hour, can have side effects.  

The consequences of fluid overload depend on your age and any underlying medical conditions you may have, but one common side effect is pulmonary edema. Yes, water in your lungs, which could interfere with oxygenation and your ability to breathe normally.

Now, let’s get back to these companies offering IV treatments in order to boost energy, stamina and help you with your hangover. To me, these boutique services are neither medical nor therapeutic. I don’t know what kind of loopholes allow these companies to exist, but believe me, it would take just one medical complication for the state regulatory bodies to be all over them.

Consumers considering these services should ask themselves a very basic question: What medical group, society of medicine or scientific journal thinks that this is proper medical care? If you find one, please tell me. Just makes sure that it doesn’t come from the Great Poobah Society of the Holistic Interstellar Federation.

Celebrities do a lot of crazy things. And their habits are picked up by many people, who may think, “If a celebrity is doing this, I should do it too.” Don’t make that mistake. If you have a hangover, you know you drank too much. Take it easy for 24 hours, drink lots of liquids and call your grandmother to make you her famous chicken soup

Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's Senior Managing Editor for Health News. Prior to this position, Alvarez was a FNC medical contributor.
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