While you're out

OK, so you've loaded up on food and water. Now you can start your drinking. But while you're deciding whether you'd like a fuzzy navel or a Shirley Temple, there are a few things you can do while you're drinking to lessen the effects of the alcohol:

  • Choose your booze with care. There are poisons besides alcohol itself that contribute to a brutal hangover. Nasty chemicals called congeners occur naturally in all fermented drinks. The general rule is that darker drinks, such as red wine, bourbon, scotch, and brandy have more congeners than lighter drinks like white wine, vodka, and gin. But you should also keep in mind that whatever your drink's color, the cheaper it is, the more poison will be in it. So avoid the cheap sauce. One further note: red wine contains an extra hangover-inducing poison all of its own called tyramine. So be especially careful with cheap red wine.

  • Alternate alcoholic beverages with non-alcoholic beverages. This simple measure will help keep you hydrated. A fruit juice (which is particularly good at re-hydrating the body) is an especially good choice. If you're afraid that it'll make you look like a loser to be without an alcoholic drink, then lie and tell your friends it's a screwdriver. They'll probably be too drunk to notice that it's not.

  • Consume less than one drink per hour. Your liver breaks down alcohol at the rate of about a beer an hour, so spreading out the drinking over the course of an evening will lessen the likelihood of a hangover.

When you get home

Okay, you've had your fun, and staggered home-maybe threw up in the cab and forgot to leave a tip. Nothing to do now but attempt to remove any over-clothing or groupies that may have adhered to you and pass out within ten feet of the bed. Suddenly, your thoughts veer round like an oil tanker to the sobering realization that you've wrecked your poor body, and will surely pay for it in the morning. What can you do?

  1. Have a pee. That'll save you at least one nocturnal trip to the bathroom.

  2. Drain the contents of a very large, very full glass of water. Then refill, and drink some more. This will be surprisingly unpleasant, but must be done. If you prefer, drink some orange juice or Gatorade. The thing is, you need electrolytes, which will keep you hydrated.

  3. Finally, remember that you shouldn't take analgesics (that is, headache medicine) of any kind at this stage. Some folks pop pills as a preventative, even though the inevitable headache hasn't yet arrived. This isn't a good idea. Aspirin upsets the stomach and aggravates the symptoms of a hangover. Acetaminophen (Tylenol), when mixed with the alcohol still in your bloodstream, might cause your liver to explode (best to avoid). If you want to take a pill, a multivitamin might help by replenishing some of the B vitamins you've pissed away during the course of the evening. Besides that, just drink lots of water, and rest easy in the knowledge that you have already pre-prepared one of our patented Almighty Hangover Emergency Cures and that it will be waiting for you in the morning.

IMPORTANT NOTE: See a doctor IMMEDIATELY if you are experiencing tremors, stomach pain, or if you see blood in your vomit. These are indications that you have tippled way too much, and must get professional medical attention, (e.g., a stomach-pump at the local emergency room). Better safe than sorry.