Unraveling the connection between hangovers and fever. Next Health addresses this common question for better understanding. Contact us today to learn more.
Medically reviewed by Next Health Clinical Director, Jessica Brewer
Hangovers are never fun, and they often come with several uncomfortable symptoms like headaches, dryness in the mouth, and even stomach aches. However, some people experience fever symptoms when they get hangovers. This can be confusing and even worrying.
Can a hangover cause fever, or is it just a coincidence, and there's something else going on? Let's answer this question and more by examining hangovers, the potential causes of hangover-related fevers, and diving into some treatments for this symptom.
Fevers are uncommon hangover symptoms. While hangovers can cause them, this is not normal and is a sign that you may need to limit your alcohol consumption.
Hangovers have other uncomfortable symptoms, including but not limited to:
In a nutshell, fevers aren’t technically hangover symptoms, but you might feel several of the effects of a fever when you get a hangover. The distinction is small but important.
A true fever is a body-enforced temperature rise, usually to kill bacteria or viruses that may be affecting your body's systems or organs. Put simply, fevers are self-defense mechanisms that protect you from long-term disease. In some cases, of course, fevers can go too high and lead to other problems.
When you get a hangover, your body doesn’t normally kick the fever response into action. But you might still feel hot, get chills, or feel achy all over. That’s because many of the effects of hangovers feel similar to the side effects of fevers.
If you feel fever-like symptoms while you have a hangover and they don't subside within a couple of hours, you should contact a doctor. A doctor can double-check that you are or are not experiencing a fever and provide medical assistance if necessary.
So, what if you get fever-like symptoms during hangovers? There are a few main reasons why this may occur.
Firstly, your immune system might go into overdrive when you drink too much alcohol. That’s because alcohol suppresses your immune system no matter what. When you drink too much of it, the pro-inflammatory cytokine levels within your body spike.
Without getting too technical, this spike starts an inflammatory response throughout your body’s immune system. It may intensify hangover symptoms like headaches, migraines, or elevated body temperature.
This immune response could kick the fever response into overdrive by accident in very rare cases. However, most people who feel fever-like during a hangover don't feel an actual fever. Once more, if you experience intensely elevated body temperature or think you are experiencing a major fever, contact a medical professional if it doesn’t subside in a couple of hours.
You may experience hypoglycemia or low blood sugar when you drink too much. You experience hypoglycemia whenever your blood sugar levels are lower than 70 mg/dL.
How does this happen? Alcohol can negatively affect blood sugar levels by increasing your body's insulin secretion. The more insulin your body makes, the lower blood sugar you have. When your blood sugar levels get too low, you might experience severe and negative symptoms like shakes, mental fog or fatigue, and more.
Fortunately, it’s easy to fix low blood sugar by giving your body some quick glucose, usually by consuming a high sugar snack, like apple juice. Low blood sugar is very common among hangover victims.
This all relates to fever symptoms because your body may trigger a very low fever if you have low blood sugar. It could detect the low blood sugar levels as an attack by accident. However, your body temperature may also rise for related reasons.
Alternatively, you might simply be suffering from the most common hangover symptom: dehydration. When you drink alcohol, you might sweat more, vomit, and urinate more. These are all vectors through which you can lose moisture in your body, which may cause dehydration if you don’t drink water with your alcoholic beverages.
Naturally, dehydration often leads to fever-like symptoms. Your body uses fluids to regulate its temperature. When it doesn't have enough water, your body temperature could increase if you are also in a warm environment and somewhat physically active.
Although many wonder if a hangover can cause a fever, another common question is if a hangover can cause hypothermia or low body temperatures. This is unlikely, however, you may feel warm because of vasodilation (decrease in blood pressure). This can lead to difficulty regulating your body temperature, throwing off your internal thermometer, which can later cause shivering as your body tries to warm itself up.
Although fever-like symptoms accompany many hangovers due to body temperature dysregulation, you can prevent them or stop a fever from starting overall by being smart about your alcohol consumption.
One good strategy is to drink water in tandem as you consume alcoholic beverages. A good rule of thumb is to drink about one glass of water per beverage you consume, whether that’s one beer, a glass of wine, or a shot of liquor.
If you stick to this rule, you can keep your blood alcohol at a reasomable level, and the chances you’ll experience the side effects of a hangover become markedly slim. While you may feel a little tired in the morning, you won’t be dehydrated, and you won’t experience many fever-like side effects, either.
Alternatively, you should avoid alcoholic drinks that include compounds called congeners. Congeners are chemical fermenting compounds that add flavor and texture to alcoholic beverages. While these can improve the quality of a drinking session, they can also exacerbate hangover symptoms.
They tend to take longer for your body to process (in part because of their chemical structures). This will, in turn, make it more difficult for your body to recover promptly from a hangover. Alcoholic beverages without congeners can be processed more quickly by your body.
Or you could simply drink your alcoholic beverages more slowly. Given enough time, your body will process any alcoholic beverage and leave you feeling good as new. But when you drink lots of alcohol in rapid succession, you overwhelm your liver's ability to filter out various compounds or chemicals. This is partially what leads to the buzzed or drunk effect some people pursue on purpose.
Unfortunately, failing to drink slowly will likely lead to a hangover and the fever-like symptoms described above. Drink more slowly, and you'll still get a buzz, but you may not see elevated body temperature, headaches, or other negative side effects.
Lastly, you can always practice drinking in moderation. If you never get drunk, you never experience a hangover in the first place. Because the fever-like symptoms and other elements of a hangover are tied together, there's no way to get the pleasant buzz of being drunk without paying for it the next morning.
Therefore, you'll have to make a choice: do you want to avoid hangovers and fever-like symptoms, or do you want to drink enough to get a heavy buzz?
If you already have a fever or have fever-like symptoms during a hangover, good news: you can rapidly treat those symptoms and alleviate the other hangover symptoms through a few smart treatments.
Firstly, drink a lot of water, even if you are already in the throes of a hangover. Drinking water rapidly restores hydration levels in your body, which could alleviate headaches, fever symptoms, and other secondary hangover side effects.
If you find yourself forgetting to drink water regularly, try to keep a reusable water bottle at your side. If you see the water bottle, odds are you’ll remember you’re thirsty in the middle of the day and prevent dehydration.
However, drinking water is altogether slow compared to an alternative hydration method: IV infusions.
IV drip infusions use intravenous therapy to provide your body with water and other nutrients directly to the bloodstream. Through intravenous treatment, your body has immediate access to water without the water having to go through your digestive system and intestines.
Furthermore, wellness centers such as Next Health offer IV infusions that include water and additional nutrients such as electrolytes. The right IV drip infusion can help rehydrate you and revitalize your body in the middle of a hangover or after other strenuous activities.
In fact, Next Health’s Hangover IV is specifically designed to:
This specialized IV drip infusion is the go-to choice for folks who are more than done with uncomfortable hangover symptoms. By eliminating toxins and rehydrating the body, Hangover IV could be the best way to alleviate hangovers and fever-like symptoms for most.
While hydrating your body with pure water is essential, you also likely need to replenish the electrolytes you deplete while you drink alcohol. As you drink more alcohol, you get rid of fluids in multiple ways, passing vital electrolytes out of your system.
Electrolytes are needed for your nervous system, muscle health, digestive system, and various other bodily functions. Therefore, drinking an electrolyte beverage or opting for an electrolyte-filled IV infusion is wise, especially if you want to overcome a hangover quickly.
By replenishing water and electrolytes simultaneously, you’ll likely get rid of fever symptoms relatively quickly.
Recent studies highlight the rising popularity of molecular hydrogen tablets as a new and increasingly favored hangover cure.
In a study conducted by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the participants who drank water with hydrogen dissolved in it before drinking alcohol, they had lower levels of alcohol in their breath compared to those who didn't inhale hydrogen. This means that the people who had hydrogen had less alcohol in their bodies after drinking.
Additionally, the group that had hydrogen reported having fewer hangover symptoms like headaches, nausea, and feeling bad compared to the group that didn't have hydrogen. The hydrogen group also did better on tests that measured how well they could think and pay attention.
Overall, this study suggests that drinking hydrogen-infused water before drinking alcohol might help decrease the amount of alcohol in your body and make hangover symptoms less severe afterward.
Overall, however, you can only truly cure a hangover and any fever-like symptoms by resting. After drinking a lot of alcohol, take it easy and give your body time to recover and replenish its energy stores. This is doubly true if you drink a lot of alcohol to the point of becoming sick.
While resting, be sure to continually drink more water and absorb electrolytes through your food or beverages. In a number of hours, you’ll feel back to normal.
All in all, a hangover can rarely cause a true fever but will more often cause fever-like symptoms such as elevated temperature, fatigue, and even mild muscle aches. Luckily, IV drip therapy from Next Health can alleviate many of the worst symptoms, plus help you feel back to 100% in no time.
Have you ever tried IV therapy before, or are you curious about what it entails? You can contact Next Health today for more information and to set up an appointment. We have facilities in many major cities like New York City, Los Angeles, and Maui!
Medically reviewed by Next Health Clinical Director, Jessica Brewer