An Updated Migraine Toolkit
While the concept of a migraine toolkit isn’t new, it is something that can be updated to reflect migraineurs’ changing needs. We took some of your tips on items to have on hand at all times to update the traditional migraine toolkit. There are many different kinds of toolkits to build, and not all items may be pertinent to every migraineur, but these can be a start!
The Stay-At-Home Kit
The stay at home kit has it all. Since it doesn’t necessarily need to travel with you, it can be large. It is important to store your at home toolkit somewhere accessible, and make sure it is colored (but not too brightly!) so that you, or a helper, can find it easily. Things to include in this kit could be:
- Medication: At least two doses of regular medication, as well as a plan B rescue medication. Make it even easier on yourself or someone helping you by putting all medications in one plastic bag and writing dosage information in large print on the outside of the bottle. You may even choose to put directions on a small sheet of paper to put in the baggie as well.
- Bottled Water: A bottle of water to stay hydrated or take medication should last a long time and be ready to consume at all times. Additional bottles can be added as well.
- Sunglasses: Turn any room into a dark space with a pair of sunglasses. The larger and darker, the better. A sleep mask can also do the trick!
- Earplugs: Drowning out any external noise can be crucial to managing an attack.
- Migraine Journal: Once you’re feeling up to it, writing down information on the attack can be crucial to preventing future ones.
- Snacks: Non-perishable snacks that don’t trigger any additional symptoms are always good to have on hand.
- Anti-Nausea Entities: Ginger, in many forms such as tea, ginger snaps, candied ginger, and ginger ale are all great at calming nausea. Additionally, a pack of saltine crackers, or sprite can be used as well. Any nausea medications are also essential and can be included in your medication bag.
- Flashlight: So you can keep the lights off around you (if possible) and still find what you need.
- Extra Comfort Item: Something that will make you (hopefully) smile!
The On-The-Go Kit
This kit can be stored in your car (in an easy to access spot), or in a purse or briefcase, and may be slightly less extensive than a kit stored at home. In addition to smaller/travel versions of the items in the Stay-At-Home kit, this kit may need a few extras to help you and those around you.
- Small Horseshoe Pillow and Soft Blanket: These may or may not be doable, depending on how portable you need your kit to be. But keeping these items in your car or somewhere at work could prove to be key during an attack away from home.
- Air Sickness Bags: For when nausea strikes and cannot be calmed.
- Instant Ice/Heat Compresses: When away from home, ice or heating packs may be impossible to find. Keeping these on hand can hold you over until you can get comfortable.
- Baseball Hat: In case your sunglasses don’t provide enough shade or you are in intense heat.
- Cash and/or a Prepaid Cellphone (and an extra charging cord): In case you are stuck in a desperate situation.
- Emergency Identification Materials: If the situation gets extreme someone who may not be familiar with you may need a way to find out more about what’s going on. Ways to help them include labeling ICE numbers into your phone (In Case of Emergency), and even including pre-printed lists in your kit with your information, procedures you’ve had, what medical conditions you have, any allergies, and medication instructions (among other possible information).
- Caretaker Entertainment: If an attack happens away from home, and someone is helping you manage it, including something for them to be occupied with while you manage your attack or seek further medical care could be beneficial. This could include special toys, games, or snacks for kids, magazines or reading materials for friends, or even an iPod with fun songs for your caretaker (or you!) to listen to while they wait.
All emergency toolkits can vary, based on the needs of the migraineur who carries it. Regardless of what works for you, remember to always transfer any notes from on-the-go migraine journals to whatever main log you use, as well as update any out-of-date or expired materials in your bag!
Can you tell when a migraine attack is coming?