snopes.com  

Go Back   snopes.com > Urban Legends > Old Wives' Tales

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 15 February 2007, 09:45 PM
snopes's Avatar
snopes snopes is offline
 
Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
Posts: 109,644
Icon24 Alcohol-soaked cloth cures headaches

Comment: My friend, Mary, told me about how her grandfather or uncle put alcohol on headache-sufferers' heads. They put the alcohol on a cloth and just stuck it on someone's head. Does this work? Or is it just a myth?
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 15 February 2007, 09:51 PM
diddy's Avatar
diddy diddy is offline
 
Join Date: 07 March 2004
Location: Plymouth, MN
Posts: 10,926
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
Comment: My friend, Mary, told me about how her grandfather or uncle put alcohol on headache-sufferers' heads. They put the alcohol on a cloth and just stuck it on someone's head. Does this work? Or is it just a myth?
Well I wouldnt be one to try it.

Honest officer, I just had a headache earlier!
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 15 February 2007, 10:10 PM
Eddylizard's Avatar
Eddylizard Eddylizard is offline
 
Join Date: 15 June 2006
Location: Tonbridge, Kent, UK
Posts: 17,857
Default

Sometimes when I've got a headache I find that a damp cloth to cool the forehead brings a degree of relief. A cloth soaked in pure or reasonably concentrated alcohol would probably cool the forehead more quickly.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 15 February 2007, 11:35 PM
Deepfrydegg
 
Posts: n/a
Default

I think this would depend on which alcohol?
I mean I always get a headache from Tequila and Bourbon, but I would think Vodka would be alright.

Oh, wait you meant "rubbing" alcohol...
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 16 February 2007, 01:05 AM
pirateslife's Avatar
pirateslife pirateslife is offline
 
Join Date: 09 January 2006
Location: McKinney, TX
Posts: 782
Default

Just don't rub it on the chest to ease heart attacks. There could be a nasty side effect if the EMTs have to use the defibrillator.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 16 February 2007, 01:28 AM
Salamander Salamander is offline
 
Join Date: 14 June 2005
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 5,035
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddylizard View Post
Sometimes when I've got a headache I find that a damp cloth to cool the forehead brings a degree of relief. A cloth soaked in pure or reasonably concentrated alcohol would probably cool the forehead more quickly.
Yup, alcohol evaporates much faster than water so it should do a pretty good job of cooling off your forehead. Working under the assumption that it was the sort of headache that something cold would help (it doesn't always), then yes alcohol would certainly work.

If it was ethanol, the fumes might well help the person suffering the headache too... provided they don't end up so drunk as to suffer a hangover
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 16 February 2007, 01:39 AM
Eddylizard's Avatar
Eddylizard Eddylizard is offline
 
Join Date: 15 June 2006
Location: Tonbridge, Kent, UK
Posts: 17,857
Default

Probably best not to smoke during the treatment though.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 20 February 2007, 12:48 PM
Floater's Avatar
Floater Floater is offline
 
Join Date: 24 February 2000
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Posts: 6,816
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddylizard View Post
Probably best not to smoke during the treatment though.
Is that the reason why an increasing number of countries prohibit smoking in bars?
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 20 February 2007, 05:40 PM
zman977's Avatar
zman977 zman977 is offline
 
Join Date: 26 September 2003
Location: La Salle, IL
Posts: 3,010
Default

I've found a good cure for a head ache to be a cup of coffee. You might be awake all night but you won't have a head ache.

BTW drink the cup of coffee don't dump it on your forehead.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 20 February 2007, 06:01 PM
Lainie's Avatar
Lainie Lainie is offline
 
Join Date: 29 August 2005
Location: Suburban Columbus, OH
Posts: 74,331
Default

This might explain the references I've read in some older books to "bathing" (wiping, I presume) a person's head with cologne.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 11 April 2007, 01:10 AM
PaulM
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Floater View Post
Is that the reason why an increasing number of countries prohibit smoking in bars?
No, that's because smoking is a disgusting habit that inconveniences everyone else in the vicinity. Smoking in bars is prohibited for the same reason as is urinating or spitting on the floor.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 26 April 2007, 05:42 PM
Debunker's Avatar
Debunker Debunker is offline
 
Join Date: 29 September 2003
Location: Yorba Linda, CA
Posts: 420
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by zman977 View Post
I've found a good cure for a head ache to be a cup of coffee. You might be awake all night but you won't have a head ache.

BTW drink the cup of coffee don't dump it on your forehead.
Since caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, it helps in the case where a headache is caused by dilation of blood vessels in the head. Many migraine sufferers find some relief from caffeine.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 30 April 2007, 03:20 AM
senshisteph senshisteph is offline
 
Join Date: 12 July 2005
Location: Ichinomiya, Aichi, Japan
Posts: 538
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Debunker View Post
Since caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, it helps in the case where a headache is caused by dilation of blood vessels in the head. Many migraine sufferers find some relief from caffeine.
Or in my case (terminal caffeine addict), a headache caused by caffeine withdrawal

Don't those 'cool'n'soothe' packs work on the same principle (cooling the forehead)?
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 30 April 2007, 03:42 AM
Eddylizard's Avatar
Eddylizard Eddylizard is offline
 
Join Date: 15 June 2006
Location: Tonbridge, Kent, UK
Posts: 17,857
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by senshisteph View Post
Don't those 'cool'n'soothe' packs work on the same principle (cooling the forehead)?
As I understand it (which isn't very well) the brain prioritises signals from temperature nerves over those coming from pain nerves in the same area. So an ice pack etc or a hot water bottle blocks the pain signals.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 30 April 2007, 01:27 PM
Nonny Mouse's Avatar
Nonny Mouse Nonny Mouse is offline
 
Join Date: 30 April 2006
Location: Halifax, NS
Posts: 14,286
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddylizard View Post
As I understand it (which isn't very well) the brain prioritises signals from temperature nerves over those coming from pain nerves in the same area. So an ice pack etc or a hot water bottle blocks the pain signals.
If that were the case these treatments would only work while actually in progress, which IME is not the case.

Cold constricts blood vessels and helps reduce inflammation. Heat helps relax tense muscles, especially if it's a moist heat.

Nonny
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 08:34 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.