Humidity and Precipitation May Trigger Children's Migraines and Headaches

by Teri Robert, Lead Expert,

One of the most important parts of Migraine and headache management is trigger identification and management. We've known for some time now that changes in weather can be a very strong Migraine trigger for adults. It's been a general consensus that this applies to children as well, and it's certainly been reported anecdotally, but now a research study has verified that weather changes can trigger Migraine attacks in children too.

The study:

Study background:

"Variables that are thought to precipitate migraine or tension-type headache episodes in children hitherto have only been studied using retrospective reports. As such, there is little empirical evidence to support the actual predictive association between presumed headache triggers and actual headache occurrence in children."1

Study objective:

"The present study sought to determine if fluctuations in weather, a commonly reported headache trigger in children, predict increased likelihood of headache occurrence when evaluated using rigorous prospective methodology (“electronic momentary assessment”)."1

Study methods:

  • Participants were 35 children (21 girls, 4 boys) between the ages of 8-17 years with a diagnosis of
    • chronic migraine with or without aura,
    • chronic tension-type headache, or
    • episodic migraine without aura.

 

  • Participants completed baseline measures on headache characteristics, presumed headache triggers, and mood.
  • Participants were trained in the use of electronic diaries to record information on Migraines an headaches. Information collected from the participant diaries included:
    • headache or Migraine occurrence
    • headache of Migraine intensity
    • duration of the Migraine or headache
    • the negative impact of the Migraine or headache
  • Three times a day, participants completed diaries on handheld computers for a two-week time period (42 assessments per participant).
  • During the two-week period, data on weather variables in the child’s geographic location were recorded each time a diary was completed. Weather variables included:
    • temperature,
    • dew point temperature,
    • barometric pressure,
    • humidity,
    • precipitation, and
    • sunlight.
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