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Five Tips for Preventing Summer-Season Migraines

Five Tips for Preventing Summer-Season Migraines

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.

#1) Keep water on hand at all times, and drink it frequently. Dehydration is a potent migraine trigger, especially during the hot summer months.

#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.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Sarah
    4 years ago

    I love this article.

  • MNW
    6 years ago

    My problem isn’t just the heat, it’s the humidity. It’s killer. I can’t find anything that helps. Right now I’m in a bad migraine cycle. I had to spend two days in the hospital. It’s only May. The rest of the Spring/Summer is still yet to come.

  • Shan43
    6 years ago

    Thank you so much for these tips! I live in Texas also and find I’m more susceptible to migraines during spring allergy season and the heat/humidity in the summer. I’m relieved to know it’s not just me that deals with this!

  • saramay
    6 years ago

    I’ve found that polarized sunglasses are a must for me as well. Year round. The squinting from glare is a definite trigger for me.

  • WickedT
    6 years ago

    I completely agree about the heat issue, especially if you are moving from AC to heat frequently. Move over the brightness of the sun. Last year our family went to Africa on a very long awaited trip and I took my “good” sunglasses – which are darker and have better UV/UVA protection, I did well for the majority of the trip…kept migraines in line. This year I went to Cuba on a mission trip (have wanted to do this for SO long) and took a cheaper pair – fearing to lose the good ones… and paid the price. The brightness resulted in days of migraines and migraine abortive pills, nausea meds and pain pills. All because I was squinting at the brightness of the sun. It pays to invest in good sunglasses – and use them.

  • bluesguy
    6 years ago

    Great article. Thank you for confirming what I have been experiencing. After retiring from my work in the Psych. field, I moved 450 miles, to the Palm Springs area. I was helping my mother care for my father who has ALS. The hot weather down here has been brutal on my migraines. Summer seems to start in early May, and last until the first week of November. Unfortunately, my reaction out this has not been very healthy. I avoid going out as often as possible when it is hot. I hope you stay cool in Texas.

  • sanspen
    6 years ago

    I live in SoCal too and summers have been a season of hiding from the heat and extra bright sun, and managing migraines everyday. I want to have a better plan this year yet it’s April and I’m already dealing with a migraine cycle and the heat has not yet been that intense.

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