If the thought of air travel gives you a headache, then you’ll be glad to know that there are many ways to avoid suffering a migraine attack while traveling in the summertime. Regardless of your destination, by following these simple air travel tips you can avoid migraine headaches from jet lag, dehydration, and barometric pressure changes that often occur after a flight.
1- Check your medicine supply.
Weeks before you get on the plane make sure you have enough migraine preventative medications, painkillers, or natural migraine supplements to last during and after your trip. Don’t leave it for later; your head will already be filled with other last-minute travel details. This is one thing you do not want to forget.
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2- Plan Ahead.
In addition to refilling your prescriptions and ordering more vitamin supplements, make sure your itinerary is up to date. Check for flight delays and weather warnings. Check your luggage, and make sure it’s the right size for airline guidelines.
3- Talk to your doctor.
This may be a good time to tell your migraine specialist about your air travel plans, so that he can suggest medications that help to prevent headaches while in flight, such as sumatriptan.
4- Treat motion sickness.
Do you normally get sick and woozy on long car trips or boat rides? If so, then drugs for motion sickness may help you adjust to air travel, and avoid triggering a migraine headache.
Ask your doctor if you can take acetazolamide the day before your flight and on your travel date, to prevent headache from altitude changes.
5- Check the weather.
This may seem obvious, but a lot of people aren’t prepared for the drastic change of climate they experience the moment they leave the airport. Check weather sites for temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, and altitude conditions in the area you’re visiting, and take whatever precautions necessary to prevent getting a migraine attack.
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6- Book non-stop.
Every time the plane goes up into the air, you experience drastic changes in oxygen levels that cause your blood vessels to fluctuate, increasing your chances for a migraine headache. Cut down on the number of ascents you make in one day by planning a non-stop flight whenever possible.
7- Sleep well.
If you’re in for the long haul, then you may not get very much rest on the plane, especially if you’re flying coach. Get your trip off to a good start by sleeping well the night before.
8- Bring shades.
The overhead lights can trigger migraines, so bring along a pair of dark sunglasses to wear during the day and a sleep mask for nighttime.
9- Eat healthy foods.
Don’t plan on getting nourishing, migraine-friendly meals once you’re in the air. Have something satisfying to eat before your flight, and pack nutritious snacks in your carry-on bag that don’t contain migraine triggering ingredients.
10- Forgo alcohol and caffeine.
When choosing a drink from the beverage cart, try to avoid refreshments containing caffeine or alcohol, and they can both trigger migraine headaches.
11- Do drink water.
Dehydration is one of the most common causes of headache during air travel, and the most preventable. Drink more water than usual a few days before, during, and after your flight. Staying hydrated is the key to preventing headaches while traveling, especially during the summertime when we lose a lot of fluids through perspiration.
12- Use a nasal spray.
Prevent excruciating sinus headaches caused by changes in air pressure while flying; use a spray nasal decongestant while ascending and descending. If you’re susceptible to sinus-triggered migraines, then you may want to use pseudoephedrine, with your doctor’s approval.
13- Breathe fresh air as soon as possible.
Once you get off your plane, don’t spend any more time in the airport than is necessary. Your body is hungering for fresh oxygen, so get yourself a breather as early as you can.
14- Check for your medications.
This is worth repeating. You may have intended to pack your painkillers, prophylaxis pills, or natural migraine supplements, only to find out upon reaching your airport that you left your first-aid kit behind. Check your carry-on and luggage for your migraine meds, and visit your nearest walk-in pharmacy if your worst suspicions are confirmed.
Do you have any questions or suggestions? Please leave your comments below.
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