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How To Reduce or Avoid Summer Head Pain


Summer has arrived again. It's time to enjoy picnics, ball games, swimming, vacations, and all the joys of warmer weather. Unfortunately, summer weather also means a different set of headache and Migraine triggers for some of us. The silver lining of this summer cloud is that a great deal can be accomplished with good trigger management. Let's take a look at some summer triggers and ways to help manage them...

Here are some tips:

1) Keep yourself well hydrated.
This is an important point all year, but especially in the summer when the heat can dehydrate us more quickly. 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. Large quantities of soda or regular iced tea, although summer favorites, have a great deal of caffeine, and caffeine speeds dehydration. Lemonade is super unless your stomach is sensitive to all the acid. Water is always a good choice!
2) Be cautious of time in the sun.
Summer sun can be one of our worst enemies, not just because of sunburn and aging skin, but because it can do serious physical harm. Too much  sun is another potent 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.
3)   Be aware of  fragrances in summer products.
Are you sensitive to fragrances by themselves or in products and/or other odors? When shopping for sunscreen, insect repellant, and other summer products, remember to read the labels carefully. 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.
4)   Wear your sunglasses.
Summer sun, even on hazy days, can be tough on the eyes. Treat yourself, and invest in some good sunglasses. Polarized lenses are better because, in addition to darkening, they cut glare. If you can go for optical grade lenses, do it for yourself. 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. You can also find side shields to block sun from the sides. For the pool, check out tinted goggles with UV protection.
5)   Mind your schedule.
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. Remember that too much sleep can be a trigger, too, so watch out for sleeping in!

  Take proper care of your medications.
Please 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, even useless. 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. If you need to keep some medication with you while hiking, attending an event in the summer heat, etc., check out some of the small insulin carriers that have cold packs with them. At home, keep your meds in a cool, dark place. Your bathroom is not the best place because of the heat and steam from the shower.
7)   Review and possibly modify your exercise routine.
If you exercise outdoors or don't have air conditioning, you may very well need to modify your exercise routine for the summer. Even with air conditioning, if you have respiratory problems, you may need to modify your routine for the summer. If you have questions, check with your doctor. Whatever the season, if you can't talk easily or experience unusual pain while exercising, stop and check with your doctor.
8)   Plan ahead: "Prior preparation prevents poor performance."
Planning ahead can save many an event and make your summer more enjoyable. It can help ensure that stress doesn't bring on tension headaches or exacerbate your Migraine triggers. When cooking, cook big batches and freeze meals. 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.


Last Updated May 30, 2004

NOTE: The information on this site is for education and support only. It is not medical advice and should not be construed as such. Always consult your physician if you have new or different symptoms. Never change your treatment regimen or add herbals, supplements, etc., without consulting your doctor.
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NOTE: The information on this site is for education and support only. It is not medical advice and should not be construed as such. Always consult your physician if you have new or different symptoms. Never change your treatment regimen or add herbals, supplements, etc., without consulting your doctor.

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