Quick cures vs. Fake cures: Hangover remedies

Mention a hangover and friends will tout "hair of the dog" or a greasy meal. How to treat the jug-headed feeling? The Wall Street Journal asked John Brick, director of consulting firm Intoxikon and author of "The Doctor's Hangover Handbook: The Intelligent Person's Guide to Curious and Scientific Facts About Alcohol and Hangovers."

Is there anything to "hair of the dog" or having another drink?

"Hair of the dog" works for some people because, for them, a hangover is actually the start of alcohol withdrawal, and the simplest "fix" would be to have a drink. Obviously, this isn't recommended and may be symptomatic of a more serious problem. Plus, it just delays the inevitable.

How about a big breakfast—the greasier the better?

This is a wives' tale and helpful only if you happen to own a breakfast cafe.

What about drinking water during and after imbibing?

Alcohol is a diuretic; it inhibits the hormone that regulates water retention. This means you have to urinate more, and dehydration can interfere with normal cellular functioning. Water replenishes (or at least offsets) that loss. Also, if you are consuming water, it slows down your drinking rate and may decrease the total alcohol consumed, both of which minimizes hangovers.

How about the plop, plop, fizz, fizz of Alka-Seltzer?

The baking soda may help neutralize an overly acidic stomach (alcohol increases stomach acid secretion), and aspirin will help most people with the headache part of their hangover. But if you are sensitive to aspirin or have any history of stomach bleeding or ulcers, avoid aspirin.

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