Strategies for a Hangover-Free Holiday Season


‘Tis the season to celebrate — but beware! One too many glasses of eggnog at the office holiday party, or a bit more bubbly than you anticipated on New Year’s Eve, and you’re likely to find yourself feeling less than cheerful the day after.

Want to prevent a caffeine. Like alcohol, it has a diuretic effect and may contribute to hangover symptoms.

  • Take over-the-counter pain relief before the headache hits. Experts warn, however, to avoid dry mouth, and loss of appetite. It’s believed to work by reducing the body’s inflammatory response that alcohol causes.

  • But skepticism remains high.

    “The supplement [HPF Hangover Prevention Formula] is designed mostly to address allergic reactions that cause headaches. It does nothing for things like abstract memory impairment linked with learning, nothing for the central nervous system suppression, the diuretic effect, etc.,” asserts Patrick Breslin, an alcohol and drug prevention facilitator at Western Wisconsin Technical College.

    “The only evidence is their [manufacturers’] own internal reports. To the best of my knowledge, there’s no evidence that there’s any supplement you can take that will prevent a hangover. These claims have not stood up to scientific scrutiny by unbiased researchers,” White tells WebMD. Incidentally, the study that demonstrated the prickly pear derivative’s defense against hangovers was supported by the product’s manufacturer.

    Vaporized Alcohol

    If hangover prevention pills don’t work, there’s also a whole new way to consume alcohol intended to curb the nasty aftereffects of consumption. The alcohol-vapor machine, or “alcohol without liquid” (AWOL) device, works by turning shots of liquor into an inhaled alcohol mist. The vaporized alcohol then mixes with oxygen and is inhaled through a tube, creating an immediate high and, according to product claims, no hangover.

    But is it safe? With AWOL, alcohol bypasses the liver, which normally filters the body’s toxins, and goes directly into the brain — even before reaching the bloodstream. That means someone heavily under the influence of AWOL could very likely pass a breathalyzer test if, in fact, the alcohol hadn’t yet reached the bloodstream.

    That’s why Diageo, the world’s leading beer, wine, and spirits company and an industry leader in promoting responsible drinking, recently announced that it supports proposed New York State legislation banning AWOL machines until further research clarifies possible risks. And, at least one New York City suburb has banned AWOL due to concerns over possible health risks.

    So where does that leave those of us who want to dodge the hangover, despite having imbibed a bit more than planned? Resort to old-fashioned remedies. “Two , a glass of water, sleep, and a multivitamin in the morning — if you can stomach it — are probably the best things to do,” Hetzler suggests.