10 Tips for Avoiding Summer Migraines and Headaches

Patient Expert
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Don't let yourself get dehydrated, even a little

This is important all year, but especially in the summer. 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.

Be respectful and careful of the sun

Summer sun can be one of our worst enemies, and I'm not talking about sunburn, even though that can be a problem. Too much time in the summer sun is another serious headache and migraine trigger.

Beware of fragrance in summer products

Are you sensitive to fragrances and/or other odors? Remember that when shopping for sunscreen, insect repellent, and other summer products. Look for fragrance-free products.

Don't get caught without your sunglasses

Summer can be tough on the eyes. Invest in some good sunglasses. Polarized lenses are great because, in addition to darkening, they cut glare. If you can go for optical grade lenses, do. They aren't as likely to produce distortion as inexpensive sunglasses.

Try not to stray too far from your routine

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.

Take care of your meds

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. When traveling, keep your meds in your carry-on, rather than letting it go with the luggage on a plane or in the trunk of a car.

Check your exercise routine

If you exercise outdoors or don't have air conditioning, you may need to modify your exercise routine for the summer. Summer offers options for exercise that aren't available in the winter. You may be able to swim, walk, hike, or play sports, such as tennis or volleyball, more in the summer.

Plan ahead

Plan ahead so 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.

Don't skimp on time for yourself

Too often, we're so busy taking care of our families or thinking about our jobs that we put off taking time for ourselves. Please take a few seconds to consider this: If we're not at our best, how can we give our best?

Wrapping it up

There's no sure way to avoid every headache or migraine, but we can take steps to minimize them and their impact. Summer is a time with many opportunities for family and fun, vacations and getaways. When we take care of ourselves, we can keep more of the fun in summer. Enjoy!