Difference between Hangover and Flu

Key Difference: Hangover is the effect that is experienced after heavy consumption of alcohol.  This typically happens when the intoxication starts to wear off and is done being absorbed by the system. Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is caused by the RNA viruses of the family Orthomyxoviridae.

Drinking has become one of the favorite pastimes in today’s society. Almost every occasion requires a person to consume alcohol including happiness, sadness, excitement, sickness, etc. The morning after the party is often the hardest to deal with. This is known as a hangover. Many people can often confuse hangover symptoms for flu symptoms, specially if they go drinking when they are sick. They can have similar symptoms, though they are two different conditions.

Hangover is the effect that is experienced after heavy consumption of alcohol.  This typically happens when the intoxication starts to wear off and is done being absorbed by the system. How does the alcohol affect the body and the brain? Well let’s see. The scientific name for withdrawal is veisalgia, derived from the Norwegian word ‘kveis’ meaning "uneasiness following debauchery" and Greek word ‘algia’ meaning “pain”. When a person consumes alcohol the alcohol gets into the bloodstream causing the brain to block the production of vasopressin, a chemical that allows the blood to reabsorb the water in body. Without the chemical, the kidney directly sends the water to the bladder. The constant urinating removes large amounts of salts and potassium from the body.

When the liver breaks down the alcohol, they covert the ethanol into acetaldehyde; this chemical is highly toxic and responsible for majority of the hangover symptoms. The acetaldehyde is then attacked by acetaldehyde dehydrogenase, an enzyme in the liver, and glutathione. If few drinks are consumed, the enzymes effectively attack the acetaldehyde; however, if the liver runs out of glutathione, acetaldehyde builds up in your body and maintains the intoxication. The alcohol touching the stomach lining as it is absorbed by the it, irritates the stomach cells causing nausea.

Hangover symptoms include: headache, nausea, sensitivity to light and noise, lethargy, dysphoria, diarrhea and thirst. In addition to physical symptoms, alcohol also creates psychological symptoms such as heightened feelings of depression and anxiety. There are many remedies stated that are expected to help hangover but many of these ‘remedies’ are not effective. Only few remedies are effective and some can also be used as a preventive measure prior to consuming alcohol.

Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is caused by the RNA viruses of the family Orthomyxoviridae. Orthomyxoviridae are various types of influenza viruses. Influenza is a completely different infection and is much worse than a common cold. The symptoms of the flu include chills, fever, sore throat, muscle pains, headaches, which are often severe, coughing, weakness, fatigue and general discomfort. Most flu symptoms usually do improve over two to five days. However, one can feel run down for a week or more. Influenza can be prevented with a flu vaccine.

Furthermore, the flu can occasionally lead to pneumonia, either direct viral pneumonia or secondary bacterial pneumonia. A warning sign, if the flu is transgressing to pneumonia, is when the affected person appears to be getting better and then relapses with a high fever. This is a warning sign for bacterial pneumonia. Another warning sign is if the person starts to have trouble breathing.

Flu symptoms should feel different from hangover symptoms. Also hangover symptoms should subside in a few hours or a day, while flu symptoms exist for a minimum a week or so. Hangovers would not cause a fever and a cold, while flu is commonly associated with both.

Comparison between Hangover and Flu:

 

Hangover

Flu

Type

Symptom

Illness

Cause

Drinking too much

A Viral Infection

Prevention

Drink in moderation

Flu Vaccine

Primary symptom

Headache

Cold and fever

Symptoms

Headache, nausea, sensitivity to light and noise, lethargy, fatigue, dizziness, dysphoria, diarrhea and thirst.

 

Also, psychological symptoms such as heightened feelings of depression and anxiety.

Chills, fever, sore throat, muscle pains, headaches, which are often severe, coughing, congestion, runny nose, weakness, fatigue and general discomfort.

Treatment

Drink lots of fluids

Take a pain killer, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen

Get adequate sleep

Safe home remedies can help

Drink lots of fluids

Take a pain killer, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen

Get adequate sleep

Safe home remedies can help

Image Courtesy: chicagonow.com, anh-usa.org

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Comments

really.. u rly expect people that are hungover to read all this shit. we dont need a fucking 5 paragraph essay we need a list of things to differentiate

Good news! We added a comparison table.

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