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Quiz: The truth about hangovers

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Hangovers are harmless.

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Hangovers are harmless.

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Having a hangover is a sign of alcohol poisoning. It means you have drunk too much in a short time and your body is telling you so. Hangovers are unpleasant for a reason. Over-indulging harms your body, forcing your liver to work harder. It also causes dehydration and a drop in blood sugar. Symptoms include headache, dizziness, nausea, a queasy stomach and sleep disruption. Alcohol abuse can also make it harder to fight off infections. According to the NHS more than 24% of people drink alcohol in a way that could harm their health and wellbeing.

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Hangovers are only caused by binge drinking

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Hangovers are only caused by binge drinking

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Binge drinking can certainly give you a hangover, but you don't have to get drunk to have that morning-after feeling. Effects depend on individual tolerance, so it's best to know your limits. Age, gender, ethnic background and size all play a role. The liver takes about an hour to process 1 unit of alcohol, so how fast you drink also matters.

To reduce your risk of a hangover, you should drink water:

To reduce your risk of a hangover, you should drink water:

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Having water or a non-alcoholic drink before, whilst and after drinking alcohol can help keep you hydrated and reduce the overall amount of alcohol you consume. This is because alcohol dries you out and also makes you go to the toilet more often. The resulting dehydration causes that banging headache and a generally unpleasant feeling. So, sip water between cocktails, beer and wine and try to slow down your pace of drinking alcohol. For the morning after, water, juice or even chicken soup, can help rehydrate your body.

Who gets worse hangovers?

Who gets worse hangovers?

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Women are usually more susceptible to hangovers as they tend to be smaller, their bodies often contain a higher percentage of fat (which isn’t able to absorb the alcohol), and a woman’s body also tends to have less water, so when women drink they have less water to help dilute a buildup of alcohol in their bloodstream. It means a woman can drink less than a man and still get a man-sized hangover. Women who drink a lot may also develop organ damage faster than men.

You can try to avoid bad hangovers by sticking to:

You can try to avoid bad hangovers by sticking to:

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

As a rule of thumb, the darker the drink, the stronger the effect. So, red wine and darker spirits, like whiskey, tequila or brandy, tend to hit you faster. This is thought to be because dark spirits contain more congeners, a by-product of distilling. Hangovers tend to be less intense when drinking white wine, beer or clear spirits like vodka or gin. But, drinking in moderation is the real key. Too much of any of these will give you that morning-after feeling no matter what.

Which of these mixed drinks is more likely to give you a hangover?

Which of these mixed drinks is more likely to give you a hangover?

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Some people believe sugar makes hangovers worse. The truth is sugar slows the rate that alcohol is absorbed. So, the type of mixer you choose matters when it comes to hangovers – and that's why a diet drink is not a safer bet than a sugary one.

Beer after wine and you'll feel fine

Beer after wine and you'll feel fine

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

The order in which you drink has little impact on the effect on your body. So beer after, or before, wine does not mean you'll feel fine. It’s all about how much you drink and how fast. However, it is true that people tend to drink cocktails and shots faster than beer, so switching from spirits to beer may help slow your pace of drinking and lessen your risk of a hangover.

Which medicine may relieve a hangover headache?

Which medicine may relieve a hangover headache?

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Use pain relief when you need it most – for example, if you have a headache. The NHS suggests that paracetamol may be preferable as anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, may further irritate your stomach and increase nausea and vomiting. Better still, drink water before, during, and after drinking alcohol to help avoid the dehydration often responsible for the headache associated with a hangover.

A nightcap won't help you sleep well.

A nightcap won't help you sleep well.

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Drinking before bed may help you drop off more quickly, but as the level of alcohol in your blood falls, it's likely to wake you up again and make it harder to get back to sleep. That means you also don't get the benefit of restorative REM (rapid eye movement) cycles of sleep. The knock-on effect is that you feel even worse in the morning from lack of sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, seek medical advice. Don't resort to alcohol as you run the risk of forming an unhealthy alcohol habit.

Herbal remedies may help hangovers.

Herbal remedies may help hangovers.

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Herbal products containing milk thistle and artichoke extract have been registered by the regulator MHRA for relieving symptoms of overindulgence, but no herbal remedies have been proven to relieve hangovers.

Alcohol poisoning can kill you

Alcohol poisoning can kill you

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Yes, drinking too much can kill you. Alcohol is a toxic substance and an extreme overdose can be fatal. Large amounts of blood alcohol can impair brain function, cause liver damage and eventually cause unconsciousness. It can cause your heart or breathing to stop, and you can choke on your own vomit. Dangerous symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Fits or seizures
  • Confusion or stupor
  • Slow or irregular breathing
  • Low body temperature, blue or pale skin

If someone you know loses consciousness, they won't just sleep this off. Call 999 for emergency medical help.

Drinking too much over time can cause:

Drinking too much over time can cause:

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Chronic alcoholism is a progressive, potentially fatal disease. Repeated heavy drinking can weaken your heart, trigger a stroke and scar your liver (called cirrhosis). It also increases your chance of getting some cancers and causes memory, sleep and mood problems. Some of these effects can be reversed. Even if you are a heavy drinker, stopping can reduce your cancer risk, alleviate some brain problems and slow or halt liver damage. If you think you are drinking too much, help is at hand. Discuss the situation openly with your GP or contact one of several alcohol abuse support organisations such as Alchoholics Anonymous or Alcohol Concern.

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Your Score:   You correctly answered   out of   questions.
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