hung up on … Hangovers?

Danielle Toth

There are many theories, but no proven remedy

Pills for stomach relief, pain relievers and coffee are some ways people try to decrease the pains of the morning after a night out.

Credit: Andrew popik

It is 7:30 on a Friday morning, and the alarm rings. The snooze button is tempting after a Thursday night of bar hopping, but it is time to go to that 8 a.m. class — with a hangover.

“A hangover is the body’s reaction to too much alcohol,” said Scott Dotterer, coordinator of the Office of College Health Behavior.

Alcohol contains several toxins that lead to hangovers, including ethanol and congeners, both made during the fermentation process.

More expensive alcohol and light colored drinks, such as vodka, gin and white wine, have fewer congeners than dark colored drinks, such as whiskey, brandy and red wine, according to

Whether the remedy is scientifically proven or not, each person has his or her own medicine for a hangover.

“Drink a full glass of water, and take two Tylenol before bed,” said Kelly Foltz, a junior art education major. “If it’s not better the next day, stay in bed and watch movies.”

Other students simply live with the symptoms.

“I just drink a lot of pop and sleep,” freshman education major Jason Tabar said.

Unfortunately, there are not many remedies to use once a student has a hangover.

“What people don’t realize is, there is no quick fix for a hangover,” said Carolyn Mesnak, coordinator of student health promotions. “There’s just a time factor.”

While many of the ways to cure a hangover are just urban myths, there are some ways to help get rid of the symptoms.

Alcohol attaches to the red blood cells in the body, depriving them of oxygen. To bring oxygen back to the cells, Mesnak suggests going outside for a while and breathing fresh air. Students should avoid carbonated beverages such as pop because they will take oxygen away from the system as well.

”Alcohol dehydrates you, so drink a lot of water,” Mesnak said. “Fruit juices help also.”

While many people and Web sites suggest drinking coffee as a hangover cure, Mesnak does not recommend it.

“Caffeine will stimulate you, but it won’t help any of the symptoms,” she said.

She also suggests taking aspirin or ibuprofen for a headache and eating foods such as bread, cereal, crackers and protein. However, students should not force an individual to eat if he or she is nauseated.

There are also many hangover medications on the market, including RU-21, Beer Neutralizer and Party ReliefTM, but most of these products are scams, Dotterer said.

Students can take a number of precautions while drinking to prevent consuming enough alcohol to warrant a hangover.

These include alternating alcoholic beverages with non-alcoholic ones, determining a set limit of drinks in advance, eating before and during drinking, pacing drinks to one or fewer and hour and avoiding drinking games, Dotterer said.

Alcohol affects each person differently, and its effect depends on a person’s sex, how fast it is drunk, the individual’s tolerance level and an individual’s weight and body fat, according to a pamphlet distributed by student health organizations Boosting Alcohol Consciousness Concerning the Health of University Students and Greeks Advocating Mature Management of Alcohol.

Whether students are visiting the bars or partying with friends, the best way to prevent a hangover is to not drink at all or to drink in moderation.

Contact features reporter Danielle Toth at [email protected].