A guide to preventing hangovers, in words that are easy to understand even if your head is pounding.
If you're reading this article, congratulations. You're smart enough to try changing your behavior instead of just complaining about your hangover all day and then getting drunk again.
Hangovers, like most painful but temporary events, are much easier to prevent than to cure. There are a thousand "cures" for hangovers. If you're hung over right now, skip to the bottom where it says "JUST MAKE THE HURTING STOP." These remedies only relieve the symptoms, however-- there is no cure for a hangover besides time. It takes time for your body to recover from those shots of tequila. It takes time for your liver to process the alcohol, for your stomach to settle down, and for the true implications of those last couple text messages to really sink in. But there is only one real way to prevent a hangover, to my knowledge.
And that is water.
It's very simple. Drink lots of water, and you won't be nearly as miserable the next morning. "Water?" you say incredulously. "Why, if it were that simple, why are there a dozen hangover prevention pills on the market? Why did my dad make me memorize that rhyme about drinking liquor before beer? Why did my friend make me eat those oysters that one time?"
Well, it's because water is relatively very cheap. You can get as much water as you want for free from most restaurants, fountains, fire hydrants... why would anyone bother to sell someone something that's pretty much free? They liquor-before-beer thing just goes to show you that sometimes things that rhyme are a bunch of poop. And your friend made you eat those oysters because he knew it would gross you out. But dude, the face you made-- priceless.
In any case, water. Water water water. Water water water water water water water water. Drink water with dinner. Drink soda and juice and tea and coffee with dinner. Be sure to eat dinner if you're planning on doing any serious drinking. For the really serious drinkers, make sure to eat a good lunch. If drinking continues past 10:00 pm, eat more. Food has water in it. Food will slow the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream. This is a good thing. Drink slowly, also. Drink a glass of water between beers. Have vodka and cranberry juice instead of just vodka. Also food helps combat hypoglycemia, another cause of hangovers.
Drink water when you get home. Chug a glass of water after you pee, before you go to bed. On that note, activities that also dehydrate you include walking, talking, dancing, fighting, sex, singing, peeing, vomiting, walking, and most sports. These activities can also distract you from the fact that you're dehydrated.
If anyone has ever accompanied a friend to the hospital who has had a bit too much to drink, you'll know that the first thing they do is put in an IV. They're trying to get fluids, electrolytes, and sugar into this person.
Water water water water water water water water water. Also, food.
JUST MAKE THE HURTING STOP.
If you have a hangover right now, here's what to do:
1. Drink water.
2. Eat a banana, some bread, or something bland like that. I like ginger ale and french fries. But just whatever you can keep down. If you puke, just focus on the clear fluids for now.
3. Close the blinds and go back to sleep.
Repeat as needed. Do NOT take acetaminophen (Tylenol) because if there's still alcohol in your system (which is likely) you could easily overdose and DIE. If you must take something, take Vitamin B.
If you want to drink more, know that the "hair of the dog that bit you" is just something alcoholics say to excuse drinking in the morning. Smoking can distract you from the hurting, just put it out before falling asleep. Safety first.