Just in time for Oktoberfest: German court rules hangovers are officially an ‘illness’

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If you’ve ever called in “sick” to work after one too many beers the night before, the law might be on your side if your boss finds out — at least in Germany, where a court has ruled that hangovers are officially an “illness.”

The decision came after a drinks firm which markets its “anti-hangover” shots and drink powders was taken to court, accused of making illegal health claims about hangover cures.

In its ruling, the Frankfurt court said that firms could not “ascribe any properties for preventing, treating or healing a human illness or give the impression of such a property.”

Those human illnesses include hangovers, the court said, explaining that an illness can be defined as “even small or temporary disruptions to the normal state or normal activity of the body.”

Tiredness, nausea and headaches are symptoms of the hangover illness, even if it is a self-inflicted one. It was not relevant, the court added, that the symptoms usually disappeared and no medical treatment was necessary.

The ruling is likely to be music to the ears of Germans as the annual Oktoberfest kicked off in Munich just days ago.

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