Health

Betty Says: How’s That Hangover?

It's all fun and games until someone ends up hung over.

With Labor Day rapidly approaching, we have one last hurrah for sun + alcohol = misery.

Dear Betty,

What do you suggest for a hangover induced by consumption of too many glasses of sangria? This information isn’t particularly useful for me right now, but I really could have used it on July 5.

– Miserable in Milwaukee

Hi Miserable,

Hangovers are the worst, because we’re all old enough to know better. But every once in a while, circumstances converge and we curse our own stupidity.

As we all know, hangovers are the result of dehydration from too much alcohol and not enough water. And of course, we’ve all heard the advice that for every glass of alcohol that we consume, we should also drink a glass of water.

This, of course, makes sense when we’re consciously consuming drinks: one beer, one water. Sangria, on the other hand, is a sneaky little bastard. It doesn’t taste like alcohol, so it’s really easy to get carried away. Even worse, because your evil neighbor keeps refilling your glass before it’s empty (I’m looking at you, Jeff), you have no real sense of how much you’ve actually consumed. The next thing you know, you’re working on a 3:1 or 4:1 sangria-to-water ratio. Add in the hot sun, and you’re guaranteed to feel hideous the next morning. And let’s face it, the kids just don’t understand, “Can you please whisper because your voice is going to make Mommy’s/Daddy’s head explode.”

How do you make it better? There are all kinds of tricks out there, including the hair of the dog technique (as if I want more alcohol at this point!) or just drinking lots of water (blargh). There’s also a contingent that swears by the use of electrolyte-replenishing drinks, like Gatorade, which makes perfect sense and is a perfectly logical response.

But I have two unconventional tips that were shared with me by people who have seen more than their share of hangovers: a hotel worker in Las Vegas and a waiter on a cruise ship.

From Las Vegas, alcohol and dehydration capital of the world: You need to replace the sodium as much as you need to replace the fluids, but you also need to get something in your stomach. The best technique is to buy the saltiest bag of chips you can get your hands on (I’ve found BBQ flavoring to work better than salt and vinegar, strangely) and a giant bottle of water. Eat and drink as much as you can, and within 30 minutes you’ll begin to feel human again. This is my go-to strategy, primarily because the key ingredients can be found in any hotel gift shop.

From the cruise: Granny Smith apples offer both hydration and a decent dose of vitamin C, and some sort of mysterious property that not only targets the hangover itself, but the nausea and headache that go along with it. I’m also told that they work wonders for seasickness, too, so there’s your handy travel tip for the day.

What’s your go-to strategy for defeating that hangover?

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