Alcohol + Medication = Not Good

I have spent the past week– my last real week of college EVER– coughing, sneezing, and sounding like a fifty-year-old chain smoker whenever I speak. This was not exactly the best time for me to come down with a sudden illness. While everyone else was out at the bars each night soaking up every last bit of freedom college has to offer, I was in bed wiping my nose and trying to sleep off my splitting headache.

But, I refused to miss out on senior festivities this weekend. In general, I consider myself a pretty healthy person and I don’t get sick very often. Therefore, I am completely clueless when it comes to which over the counter medications I should take, how much I should take, and how often. Luckily for me, one of my roommates is a walking medicine cabinet and provided me with a different drug to combat each of my symptoms.

The one thing I quickly realized was that these medications caused me to have a very different reaction to alcohol.

At Happy Hour on friday, I barely had gotten halfway through my first drink when I realized I was feeling really loopy. I was pretty out of it and my friends even noticed it in my eyes. “Are you okay?” they kept asking. After the loopiness wore off, a sharp and intense headache set in. That’s when I realized that maybe I should have done a little research into what I should and should not mix with alcohol before going to the bar.

Needless to say, the night ended early for me and I am now looking up the information that I should have checked out before attending happy hour. Here are a few facts about meds and how to avoid accidentally causing an Anna Nicole-like overdose :

-Mixing alcohol with aspirin or ibuprofen increases your chance of stomach upset and bleeding.

-When acetaminophen (in Tylenol and DayQuill) is mixed with alcohol, it increases the risk of serious damage to your liver—this can be true even if the acetaminophen is taken hours after excessive alcohol intake, such as for hangovers.

-If you have a cold and a headache and you take both a multi-symptom cold reliever containing acetaminophen as well as a dose of pain-relieving Tylenol, you are inadvertently exceeding safe dose levels for acetaminophen.

For more info about OTC drugs, check out this article.

Let’s just say that I will be doing my research from now on before venturing out for the night while on any type of meds.

My Big-Booby Trap
My Big-Booby Trap
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