It isn’t even May yet, here in Texas, but the temperatures are already reaching into the 90s. For many people, this means vacations, long days at the pool, nighttime barbeques, and family get-togethers. For those of us with migraine, however, it can mean day after day of intense attacks.
According to experts, there are many reasons why summer may be the worst season for attacks for some of us: allergies, summer storms, stress letdown, changes to our routines, etc. Regardless of the reason, however, following these five tips should help you stave off at least some of those summer-season attacks, which means more time to enjoy the long, lazy days of our youth.
#2) Try changing your schedule around, if possible. Avoid running errands, especially errands that involve walking across large, steaming parking lots, during the hottest time of the day. Try shopping for groceries, etc., at dusk or first thing in the morning.
#3) Remember: It isn’t just the heat that triggers summer-season migraines. In many cases, it is the brightness of the summer sun. Fight back by wearing a large-brimmed hat and dark sunglasses anytime you venture outdoors.
#4) Stay consistent with your sleep and exercise routines, but make seasonal adjustments if necessary. If the longer days are making it difficult to get the kids in bed in time for you to get to bed at your preferred hour, try pushing your bedtime back in 15-minute increments over the course of a few days. Then, stick to your new schedule. If your exercise routine involves a long walk, bike ride, or run outdoors, consider moving inside to a treadmill, stationery bike, or elliptical machine. You could also try working out in the early morning hours or in the evening, when the sun isn’t so hot.
#5) Prioritize your health. Allow yourself to say “no” to activities that might trigger an attack, even if everyone else in your family or group of friends wants to go. This can be the hardest tip to follow, but it can yield the greatest results. My family, for example, loves to swim, hike, and play at the park. They’d spend all day, every day outside if they could. This wreaks havoc on my head. Instead of going along anyway or saying “no” and feeling guilty that I can’t be there with them, I tell them to enjoy their “daddy” time, and I make plans to do other, quieter, indoor activities with them later.
Added tip: Studies indicate that a rise in temperature can be a major trigger for migraineurs. In fact, one Boston study found that a 9 degrees Farenheit increase in temperature is correlated with a 7.5 percent increase in the likelihood of a migraine attack severe enough to require a visit to the emergency room. If the temperature is changing, be extra careful with yourself! Drink fluids, avoid your other triggers when possible, and stay focused on your health.