Summer headaches can be…well, painful, even for non-migraine sufferers. But for those afflicted with chronic migraines, trying to dodge migraine triggers can be especially perplexing under the hot baking sun. Here are some helpful rules for dealing with summer headaches.
Water yourself regularly…
You’ve heard this time and time again, but it’s worth repeating. To prevent headaches in the summer, and that includes migraine headaches, force yourself to drink all day long, even if you don’t like it. (And some of us don’t.)
You might think you’re drinking enough water, but you’re probably not. Some signs of dehydration aren’t obvious; tiredness, sluggish thinking can be easily confused for the “brain fog” that many chronic pain sufferers experience year-round.
For more advice on this rule, read 15 Tricks for Staying Hydrated and Avoiding Migraines.
…But don’t drown in it
This is no joke- Drinking too much water can dilute essential electrolytes that you need, like potassium and sodium, to avoid dehydration headaches.
A good rule of thumb is to drink water before and after eating, but not during.
Don’t drown in perfumes, either
The summer season calls for extra vigilance in avoiding strong scents and headaches. That’s because heat and humidity combine to intensify odors in lotions, colognes, shampoos, and cleansers.
Don’t leave suntan lotions or bug sprays in the car, which can create a sauna effect guaranteed to bowl you over when you open the door.
Carry smelling salts or a hankie for times when you can’t avoid other people’s perfume- at work, or at amusement parks, for example.
Seek out fragrance-free products that are really perfume-free, not just scented with a masking odor.
For more tips, see Perfumes and Migraines: The Good, the Bad, and the Downright Stinky.
Seek the shade
This is something else that you already know, but what migraine blog about summer headaches would be complete without this essential tip?
Heat isn’t your only enemy this season; the bright light of the sun is another viable migraine trigger.
Things to always store in your car include:
- An extra pair of dark sunglasses
- A wide-brimmed sunhat
- An umbrella (yes!)
- A small beach umbrella
- A sleep mask
Here’s some advice on choosing the perfect pair of migraine shades: Rainbow Colored Sunglasses that Prevent Migraines
Forget the Hamptons…
When planning your summer vacation, keep it simple. Think local and uncrowned. (Cheap doesn’t hurt, either!) If you can’t get there by bus or train, then it’s probably not worth the headache. And before your trip, look up migraine hot spots that are close to your hotel, like pharmacies, emergency care, or all-night grocery stores.
Get more advice here: Plan a Headache-Free Summer Vacation: Five Travel Tips
…and the Rocky Mountains
Before settling on a vacation spot, check up on the altitude. Do you have to drive through a winding mountain road to get there? You might be surprised to find that certain summer spots are at “nosebleed” elevations- a common headache trigger for many migraine sufferers.
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