Hangover-curing IV service launches in South Lake Tahoe
December 10, 2016
Last night, in the name of journalism, I got sloshed.
I won't get into specifics, but there was wine and there was whiskey, and when I woke up the next morning my tongue was like sandpaper and my head was aching.
The purpose of my excessive imbibing (I swear!) was to test out a new South Shore business H2uP, a concierge IV hydration service geared toward partiers, athletes and even those trying to fend off an impending cold or bout of the flu.
Services like this started cropping up across the U.S. over the last few years in hubs like New York and Las Vegas — and South Lake Tahoe-based ER doctor Targhee Oeveraas took note.
"I've been watching in Vegas remotely for a while now and seeing all the companies pop up. Basically, I figured this was coming to Tahoe, and I wanted to be the person to do it before anybody else did," said Oeveraas, as H2uP nurse Jenelle Timmons — an ER nurse of over 10 years — took my blood pressure and pulse and listened to my lungs at the Tribune office.
I was nervous about the IV insertion, but the process was over quickly, and before I knew it I was snuggled in the provided blankets, sipping on a dragon fruit-flavored Bai antioxidant beverage, and watching the drip, drip, drip of the fluids.
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"I'm not trying to encourage people to get wasted. That's not my intent, but the fact is that people are going to drink and just because you have a hangover doesn't mean you were out wasted the night before not drinking responsibly," explained Oeveraas.
"As you get older, it doesn't take much to give you a hangover anymore. Research shows hangovers are more likely to be experienced by light to moderate drinkers."
Since H2uP officially launched in October, Oeveraas estimated the company has provided IV services to around 50 people in their homes or hotel rooms on the South Shore.
"A lot of our clientele is actually educated professionals who just don't feel great Sunday and want to feel better for work on Monday. They haven't really had a major night, they may have just been to a party and had a few glasses of wine," added Timmons.
"And if you come up from sea level like San Jose, then you're going to be more affected. And with the dehydration from skiing, hiking and mountain biking."
So what exactly was dripping from the IV bag directly into my bloodstream, slowly easing my headache and quelling the waves of nausea?
The bulk of the 1-liter bag was filled with Lactated Ringer's solution to replenish my fluids and electrolytes. And after assessing my hangover symptoms, Oeveraas added in Toradol (an anti-inflammatory for headaches), Zofran (an anti-emetic for queasiness) and magnesium (helps with headaches, muscle cramps and replenishes what you lost from drinking).
To help with my low energy level — alcohol interferes with restorative REM sleep — I also received a B12 shot in my arm, administered in that fashion to extend the absorption time.
My custom treatment was one of four items available on H2uP's menu, which also features a baseline "Waterhouse" option for $100 and the "Bliss" package for $200 — the "ultimate in hangover resuscitation."
The "Tallac," which retails for $160, is designed for athletes.
"I've been working at the medical tents at events like the Hard Rock Half Marathon, and it's crazy how many people are cramping and dizzy and tired. We give them a liter, and they're so much better," said Oeveraas.
"Magnesium," which is included in the package, "is really good for decreasing muscle cramps," she added.
Oeveraas said H2uP has plans to be at the finish line for all the major races in Lake Tahoe going forward, like the Tour de Tahoe and the Lake Tahoe Marathon. Pop-up clinics and group rates for wedding or bachelorette parties are also in the company's future.
And so far, the service has received glowing reviews.
"I tried this service not due to hangover but because I felt like I had some flu bug coming on and thought fluid and B12 might alter that. Pleasantly surprised, I felt better nearly instantly," wrote one customer on Yelp.
"Getting the hydration IV helped me out immensely. This was totally worth it and I would recommend it to anyone who has a rowdy evening and has responsibilities the next day," wrote another.
As the last ounces of fluid dripped through the IV, Oeveraas and Timmons decided on a cocktail of vitamins for me to take after I got some food in my stomach. And to my surprise — because believe me when I say I was skeptical of this whole process — I was feeling much better and ready to eat.
Another vitals check revealed my pulse had relaxed. My headache was almost completely gone, the slight nausea was quelled, and I felt much more clear-headed.
So does it work? In this humble journalist's opinion, yes. What started as a miserable morning quickly turned into a productive day at the office — and for that, H2uP, my boss thanks you.