Rule your migraine in the summer sun
Bright sunlight and searing heat can ruin summertime plans for almost any migraineur. By planning ahead and packing smart, we can still enjoy the fun, even if migraine strikes. It is possible to spend the day outdoors even with migraine. Over the years I’ve enjoyed water parks, amusement parks, outdoor festivals, camping trips, and afternoons at the lake. Life before migraine never existed for me, so I had to learn how to make accommodations. It was simply unacceptable to allow migraine the opportunity to rob me of all of life’s pleasures so I learned by trial and error. Maybe these tips will save you some time and frustration.
What to wear…
- Unless you have a short hairstyle, put your hair up so that it is off your neck and out of your face. Just be careful not to pull it so tightly as to trigger an attack
- Comfortable shoes with good arch support and breathable fabric. My personal favorite is the Sketcher’s brand with memory foam insoles.
- Loose-fitting, lightweight clothing. If it feels tight, itches, or limits movement in any way, leave it in the closet.
- Lightweight, wide-brimmed hat
- Dark sunglasses
Carry with you at all times…
Invest in a good quality backpack or fanny pack designed for day hikes. The best ones have a water bladder large enough to keep you hydrated for a whole day. Store these items in the pack for fast, easy access.
- Pill box with enough medicine to treat at least one attack
- Large umbrella
- Lightweight cooling towel
- Ice bag or instant cold pack
- Powdered electrolyte solution (i.e. Gatorade)
- Large water bottle (insulated is best!)
- Sunscreen (unscented)
- Personal fan – one that sprays water mist is ideal
- Thin, lightweight scarf – blocks the sun, can be used to tie on an ice pack
Stock the car with…
- Cooler full of ice, water bottles, Gatorade
- Travel pillow or neck support
- Extra cold packs, cooling towels
- Emesis bags
Know your limits and early warning signs. Make sure that the people you are with understand that you may need a place to go for a quick retreat to cool off. Better to take that break early so you can quickly stop an attack and get back to having fun. Don’t hesitate to call it quits if a stubborn attack just won’t let go. Negotiate this possibility with others well in advance so that a designated person can drive you home or to the ER should it be necessary. There’s no need to be a martyr. You can always try again another time.
Can you tell when a migraine attack is coming?