How to drink safely over the festive season

The party season is here, but so is the dreaded hangover.
There are ways to keep your drinking in check over the festive season.There are ways to keep your drinking in check over the festive season.
There are ways to keep your drinking in check over the festive season.

Alcohol is a depressant and diuretic. It removes liquid from the body causing dehydration, dilates blood vessels, causes blood sugar spikes and troughs and irritates the lining of the stomach.

What helps?

If you like a drink over Christmas and New Year, there are some steps you can take.

Prevention is better than cure

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Make sure you drink water in-between alcoholic beverages (fizzy drinks speed up the absorption of alcohol into your system) and drink a pint of water before you go to bed.

Keep an eye on how much you’re drinking and know your limits. Make sure you eat before you drink and drink fewer drinks that are dark in colour as they contain congeners which are thought to make hangovers worse.

The morning after

If you do wake up feeling terrible, drink plenty of water to rehydrate – fizzy drinks will irritate your stomach and the sugar can cause a quick blood sugar dip.

If you have a headache then take some paracetamol, but keep away from aspirin and ibuprofen as they can sometimes make your stomach worse. An antacid can also help to settle your stomach, but isn’t advised if you’re being sick.

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Make sure you eat some plain carbohydrates and vegetable bouillon or soup, which is easily digestible and has plenty of vitamins and minerals in. A fatty fry up will only add to the load on your liver and can irritate your stomach.

If you haven’t managed to get a good night’s sleep, a nap can help too.

When drinking, always stick to the Government’s guidelines of less than 14 units per week (for both men and women) and make sure you give yourself 48 hours before drinking any more alcohol.

If you do feel like you have imbibed too much over the Christmas period, a period of abstinence, like Dry January can help you reset your relationship with alcohol.

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Dr. Alexandra Phelan is an NHS GP and Online Doctor for Pharmacy2U. Manage your repeat prescriptions by going to