Headaches in the Good Old Summertime
During the summer, there is an increased chance of exposure to the triggers and other precipitating factors of headache. Vacations, air travel, the beach, picnics, and partying are not always fun times – especially if you are laid low with a migraine or other headache. The National Headache Foundation offers these helpful tips on avoiding these summer spoilers:
1.The sun can be especially bothersome if you have migraine. Looking directly or indirectly at the sun can trigger a migraine attack. Don't forget your shades – sunglasses, visors, or sun hat when you are out and enjoying the sunshine at the beach, tennis court, golf course, or a baseball game.
2.Changes in barometric pressure are well-known headache triggers. Watch out for those sudden thunderstorms and windy days – even in July.
3.Watch your fluids when you are at the beach or some other outdoor activity. Drinking plenty of water – not soda – will help prevent those "dehydration" headaches. You don't want to drink too many soft drinks containing caffeine which can also contribute to your headaches.
4.Backyard barbecues and picnics may provide you with food items that you wouldn't normally eat. The sauces and dry rubs on those tasty ribs may contain monosodium glutamate (MSG) to which many headache sufferers are sensitive. The spread at a picnic may include aged cheeses, hot dogs and other meats with nitrates, and pickles – all items found on headache diets. And let's not forget the beer and cocktails served at those summer parties – watch your intake!
5.You've invited 50 friends to your July 4th celebration – and the stress is getting to you. Plan ahead and be organized – you don't want to spend the day or the day after, in a dark, quiet room as you try to get rid of that migraine.
6.The joy of a long weekend or vacation can be quickly ruined by a headache. Try to stay on your normal sleep schedule. Oversleeping, not getting adequate sleep, or missing a meal can all contribute to a headache.
7.Everyone says "travel is no longer fun." Traveling by plane is particularly stressful. Who can tolerate the airport inconveniences, the long delays, and the lack of food service on these flights? Purchasing a healthy snack and a bottle of water prior to boarding may help you avoid a travel headache. Try to avoid alcoholic beverages before and during your flight – those cocktails will dehydrate you. Also, the oxygen on planes, although the cabins are pressurized, is never at normal levels. If you are burdened by "altitude headaches," your physician may offer some remedies to help prevent the headaches associated with air travel.
Hopefully, these recommendations will help you truly enjoy your summer and make the most of the great weather and sunshine.
For information on headache causes and treatments, or for a list of physicians in your area who treat headache, please visit headaches.org or call 1-888-NHF-5552.
SOURCE National Headache Foundation