There’s a reason the iconic buddy comedy “The Hangover” takes place in Las Vegas — the desert oasis famed for its wild nightlife. But if you’ve had a bit too much to drink in Las Vegas, you don’t have to miss any action due to a hangover. You can even avoid the unpleasant hangover symptoms of nausea, dehydration, headaches and fatigue when you take the correct steps.
While there’s no magic potion for curing hangovers, you can bounce back from a night out more quickly if you know the top tricks for dealing with day-after symptoms. Below, you’ll find out all there is to know about hangover causes and how to get rid of a hangover fast at home.
What Causes a Hangover?
A hangover results from drinking too much alcohol. For some people, a single alcoholic beverage is enough to cause a hangover in the morning, while others may be able to indulge more without experiencing symptoms.
These are the main effects of having too much alcohol.
- Dehydration: Alcohol makes you have to urinate more frequently, which can lead to dehydration, often marked by thirst, lightheadedness and dizziness.
- Inflammation: Alcohol prompts an inflammatory response from the immune system, potentially causing symptoms like memory issues, an inability to focus, decreased appetite or a loss of interest in usual activities.
- Increased stomach acid: Alcohol can irritate your stomach lining and cause abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting by increasing the production of stomach acid while delaying stomach emptying.
- Low blood sugar: Alcohol may make your blood sugar dip below a healthy level, which could lead to weakness, fatigue, shakiness, mood swings and even seizures if it dips too low.
- Larger blood vessels: Alcohol makes blood vessels expand, which can result in headaches.
- Drowsiness: While alcohol can make you tired, it typically disrupts the sleep cycle throughout the night, leaving you groggy the next day.
What Eases a Hangover?
While a hangover can put a damper on your morning, you can take a few steps the night before to prevent regrets the next day. If you know you will be drinking more than usual, try following these strategies.
- Drinking prickly pear extract: Taking prickly pear extract several hours before drinking can help decrease your hangover symptoms’ intensity by about half. While experts aren’t sure how this substance works, the hypothesis is that the extract contains a protein that lowers the inflammation you can get after overindulging in alcoholic drinks.
- Eating enough: Make sure you eat a complete meal before drinking alcohol. Having food in your stomach when drinking can keep your blood alcohol concentration in check by slowing the body’s absorption of the alcohol.
- Staying hydrated: Drinking water can also slow the rate at which the body absorbs alcohol, which ultimately lowers your BAC. Try to alternate alcoholic beverages and non-alcoholic drinks throughout the night. Also, drink more water before going to bed to lessen alcohol’s dehydrating effects.
However, if you can’t stave off a hangover and wake up with your head pounding, you still have some remedies to turn to for relief. While there’s no guaranteed way to cure a hangover, these methods may help minimize your symptoms.
- Have some sugar: Because alcohol lowers your blood sugar, having a high-carbohydrate breakfast or sipping on a glass of juice is essential for bringing your sugar levels back up as your body works the alcohol out of your system.
- Avoid overeating: When too much alcohol is present, the stomach empties more slowly, which can cause indigestion, nausea and vomiting. Having a large, greasy breakfast can worsen these symptoms.
- Drink water and caffeine: Drinking water in the morning is crucial for counteracting alcohol’s dehydrating effects. Pedialyte or a sports drink can also help you rehydrate quickly because they contain electrolytes. Drinking caffeine can also help alleviate hangover symptoms by increasing your heart rate and constricting your blood vessels to correct the dilated blood vessels that alcohol causes.
- Get potassium: As a natural muscle relaxer, potassium can help you overcome any muscle aches from a hangover. Bananas are rich in potassium and may offer some symptom relief.
- Take a pain medication: Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen can help decrease the headache and other pains that may come with a hangover. However, make sure you don’t take anything containing acetaminophen, which can cause severe liver issues when mixed with alcohol.
Should You See a Doctor About a Hangover?
In general, a hangover after one night’s drinking will go away on its own. However, you may want to consult your doctor if frequent hangovers are beginning to affect your quality of life, including your ability to perform at work or maintain healthy relationships.
Additionally, there are some more severe signs and symptoms to watch out for after a night of heavy drinking. These symptoms may indicate alcohol poisoning, which is a life-threatening emergency. If someone who has been drinking exhibits any of the following signs, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately:
- Irregular breathing — more than 10 seconds between breaths
- Slow breathing — fewer than eight breaths per minute
- Pale or blue-tinged skin
- Hypothermia — low body temperature
- Difficulty remaining conscious
- Passing out and staying unresponsive
Can IV Therapy Help a Hangover?
IV therapy is one of the best ways to ease hangover symptoms quickly. Though a typical hangover lasts about 24 hours, you don’t have to spend all day feeling miserable if you receive IV therapy. IV packages deliver rapid rehydration, which will help you recover from a hangover quicker.
While other hangover cures — like drinking lots of water, eating sugar and taking pain medications — can take hours to provide relief, IV therapy can help rehydrate your body and replenish its nutrients much faster. IV therapy infuses crucial fluids and vitamins straight into your bloodstream so your body can absorb them as quickly as possible. This treatment allows you to start feeling better in about half an hour.
Specifically, these IV package ingredients will help you overcome a hangover.
- IV fluid: The electrolyte-rich IV fluid will help you rehydrate faster.
- Glutathione: This powerful antioxidant can help combat hangover symptoms by lowering the body’s acetaldehyde toxicity.
- Vitamin B complex: B vitamins provide you with a much-needed nutrient boost after drinking too much.
- Vitamin B12: This B vitamin, specifically, can help you overcome hangover-related fatigue.
- Anti-nausea and vomiting medicine: This medicine can reduce alcohol-caused irritation and inflammation in your stomach and gastrointestinal tract to quickly end your nausea and vomiting.
- Anti-heartburn and reflux medicine: This medicine can ease uncomfortable hangover symptoms by temporarily decreasing the amount of acid secreted in your stomach to relieve the irritation caused by alcohol.
- Anti-inflammatory, headache, and pain medicine: This medicine helps minimize the aches, fever, headaches, and general pain that usually come with a hangover.
Receive IV Therapy for Your Hangover From Mobile IV Medics
As a popular destination for gambling, clubbing, vacationing, and parties of all sorts, Las Vegas can also be a top hangover spot. If you don’t want to spend your time in Las Vegas feeling hungover, let Mobile IV Medics bring quick hangover relief right to your door. We offer a hangover IV drip package that can help you bounce back from a long night.
At Mobile IV Medics, we save you the trouble of going to the ER and spending hours in the waiting room by coming directly to your hotel room, home, or office to give you IV treatment. Our registered nurses can arrive as soon as an hour after you book your appointment to administer your IV drip, so you can feel back to normal in minutes.
Schedule your appointment online today, or contact Mobile IV Medics with any questions about our services.
About the author
Brad Wenderoth, Pharm.D.
Brad Wenderoth, Pharm.D. is a licensed pharmacist and co-owner of Mobile IV Medics. With over 16 years of healthcare experience, Brad is bringing his expertise and passion for patient care to the Mobile IV Medics patient population. Prior to Mobile IV Medics, Brad worked in varying areas including both direct patient care and hospital leadership at Keck Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, nationwide health system pharmacy consulting for Comprehensive Pharmacy Services (CPS), and professor of pharmacy at the USC School of Pharmacy. He holds a doctorate in pharmacy from the University of Arizona, a pharmacy practice residency from USC, and a lean six sigma green belt from Johns Hopkins.