10 tips to help avoid summer headaches

Summer can be a joyous time for many people with warmer weather, time in the water, and just hanging about with friends.  Those who suffer chronic headache and migraine however likely won’t agree with me.

Unfortunately, summer brings a whole set of migraine triggers.

#1. Hydrate

Dehydration is a big headache trigger.  It can happen in any climate, but it is most common when the weather is warm and humid.  On average, both children and adults should drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water each day, unless there is vigorous activity involved, in which you’d drink more.

#2. Exercise

With warmer weather comes more outdoor activity and exercise.  This is a great idea; however, it also makes you more prone to exercise-induced headaches.  Activities that trigger these types of headaches include tennis, swimming, rowing, and running.  So, just remember to stay extra hydrated during these workouts.

#3. Respect and Beware the Sun

While most of us love the hot weather and the fun that comes with it, summer can be an enemy, and not just with sunburns.  Bright sunlight and heat can be a major headache and migraine trigger.  Try wearing broad-brimmed hats to keep the sun away from the face, neck, back, and chest.  Use beach umbrellas for ballgames or sitting by the poolside.  Basically, stay in the shade.  During the hottest part of the summer days, consider adjusting your schedule.  Do your errands and exercise earlier in the morning or later in the evening when the sun is not so strong.

#4. Be Careful of Scented Summer Products

Smells are a trigger for headaches and migraines, even without the heat of summer.  Look for unscented bug repellants, sunscreen, and other products.  Your pharmacist can help you find the right fragrance-free product if you are having difficulty.

#5. Wear Sunglasses

That bright sunlight can be rough on the eyes and a massive problem for migraineurs.  Good sunglasses are a great investment, especially those that cut off the glare.  If you still have eye pain or headaches with sunglasses, try adding a hat to reduce the light that comes in over the top of your glasses.

#6. Reduce Alcohol Intake

You should avoid alcohol in the hottest part of the year, especially in the hottest part of the day.  It is a huge headache trigger even in non-migraineurs.  Additionally, it dehydrates the body, putting you at even greater health risk.

#7. Stick with your Regular Routine

Try to stay on schedule. It’s easy to get sidetracked in the summer, especially because it gets dark much later and things feel more relaxed.  Don’t let that lull you out of your meal and sleep routines.

#8. Watch your Meds

Most medications have temperature restrictions that can be easily exceeded in the summer time.  Prolonged exposure to high or low temps can cause your medications to become less efficient. Keep meds in a cool, dark place.

#9. Reduce Stress by Planning Ahead

Stress can trigger tension headaches and make migraines worse.  Try planning meals and activities ahead of time.  For example, make extras during dinner that you can freeze; make a to-do list; delegate chores to the kids and spouse; make reservations in advance, etc.  There are plenty of ways to plan ahead and reduce your stress levels, making summer that much more enjoyable.

#10. Remember to Care for Yourself

If you’re not at your best, you can’t give anyone else your best.  That’s why it’s so important to take at least a few minutes to yourself every day.  Dedicate at least 30 minutes every day to do what pleases you like walk, read, meditate, etc. This makes your home and life more migraine and headache friendly.  Allow yourself to say no sometimes, especially if you’ve had a busy day.

Summer is a beautiful time of year, active and lazy all at the same time.  There is no reason you should have to spend it indoors, suffering with a headache.  Take a few minutes every day to make sure you are following these 10 tips above in order to have a more relaxed, fun, and headache-free summer.