Tips for Avoiding Summer Migraines
Summer is a highly anticipated season by many, especially in our state that experiences sub-zero temperatures in the winters. Beach days, BBQs, picnics, festivals, outdoor concerts, road trips, and baseball games, are just a few of the many common things on almost everyone’s summer bucket list but if you suffer from migraines it can put a serious dent in your plans. Migraine is an extraordinarily prevalent neurological disease, affecting 39 million men, women and children in the U.S. and 1 billion worldwide. Migraines are so common, in fact that every 10 seconds, someone in the U.S. goes to the emergency room complaining of head pain, and approximately 1.2 million visits are for acute migraine attacks.
According to Una Farrell, spokeswoman for The Migraine Trust, many people report that they get more migraines in summer. "It's not necessarily the hot weather, but people can be affected by the changes in air pressure during the summer months," she says. Learning what types of factors can trigger a migraine can help you avoid them this summer to enjoy summer to its fullest. Here are some tips to consider when it comes to avoiding migraines, according to the American Migraine Association.
Don’t let yourself get dehydrated.
This is important all year, but especially in the summer. You may hear or see news reports warning about dehydration and heat stroke. Heed them. Dehydration is a major headache and migraine trigger for many people.
What you drink can make a difference, too. Soda or iced tea, although summer favorites, can have a great deal of caffeine. Water or electrolyte-containing beverages are always good choices!
Be respectful and careful of the sun.
Too much time in the summer sun is another serious headache and migraine trigger. That doesn’t mean we have to stay indoors. Try hats with broad brims that keep sun off your neck and upper chest and back as well as your face. Beach umbrellas can be great at ball games and the like. You can also cool yourself down with a spray bottle of water or a cold, wet bandana around your neck.
Beware of fragrance in summer products.
Are you sensitive to fragrances and/or other odors? Remember that when shopping for sunscreen, insect repellent, and other summer products. Look for fragrance-free products. If you’re not sure about chemical names listed in the ingredients, your pharmacist may be able to help you.
Don’t get caught without your sunglasses.
Summer can be tough on the eyes. Invest in some good sunglasses. Polarized lenses are great because, in addition to darkening, they cut glare. If you can go for optical grade lenses, do. They aren’t as likely to produce distortion as inexpensive sunglasses. Still troubled by light from around your glasses? Try a baseball cap or another type of hat to block out the sun that comes in from above the sunglasses.
Try not to stray too far from your routine.
It’s easy to get off schedule in the summer. It gets dark later. Things seem a bit lazier. Don’t let that lull you into getting off your schedule for meals and sleep. Even on vacation, be careful not to skip meals, and try to resist the temptation to indulge in trigger foods. Try to keep your sleep schedule regular, too. Both too much and too little sleep can be a trigger for some people.
Take care of your medications.
Be aware that medications have storage temperature ranges that can easily be exceeded by summer temperatures. Prolonged exposure to higher temperatures can make your meds less effective. When traveling, keep your meds in your carry-on rather than letting it go with the luggage on a plane and in the car with you rather than in the trunk in your luggage. At home, keep your meds in a cool, dark place.
Plan ahead so stress doesn’t bring on headaches or exacerbate your migraine triggers. Make lists. Delegate chores to family members. Make travel reservations well in advance. Be sure your car is serviced before traveling. Mark prescription refill times on your calendar so you don’t run out of meds.
These are just some of the many considerations you can take to try to avoid migraines this summer. Following these tips and seeking the advice of your medical team can help ease your worry about a sudden migraine attack this summer. The team at ANA Pain Management is here to help answer any questions you may have when it comes to pain management and controlling your symptoms. Call or visit us online today to learn more.