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Understanding Seasonal Migraines: Summer Edition

The changing seasons can be devastating for migraine sufferers. While most of us love the warmer temperatures and sunshine, someone who is prone to migraines wants to bury their head in the sand for several months. What causes these triggers? Understanding seasonal migraines: summer edition.

Woman sitting outside holding her head in pain

General Triggers Of Migraines And Symptoms

There are a number of general situations of environmental factors that can bring on a migraine.

You can experience a migraine from any or all the following:

  • Stress
  • Skipping meals
  • Too much or too little sleep
  • Hormonal changes
  • The weather

A migraine is a type of headache which usually occurs in stages, and it can last for a couple of days. A severe episode can affect a person’s daily life including their work and ability to study and concentrate.

You can have throbbing and pulsating pain accompanied by nausea, neck pain, vomiting, dizziness, and nasal congestion. Lying still in a dark room is one remedy.

How The Weather Affects Migraines

When the seasons change, there are automatically changes in the atmosphere. During the change from spring to summer, we experience changes in the barometric pressure or atmospheric pressure. Our sinuses are normally equal to the pressure, but when there is a noticeable change, it creates a trigger. As a summer storm approaches, and the pressure drops, many individuals susceptible to migraines can expect a migraine to begin. Unfortunately when the pressure increases or decreases, it can trigger migraines.

The change in temperature is also a trigger. Warmer, more humid air can cause an episode. If the humidity is lower we lose sodium and water due to sweating. It is critical to stay hydrated.

In addition, exercising strenuously during the hot summer months can bring on a migraine.

Let’s not forget that summer brings us lots of sunshine. Migraine sufferers have reduced melatonin in summer which usually helps us sleep. When this occurs and we sleep less, that loss of sleep is another trigger as mentioned above.

This increased daylight can make migraines more severe.

Be Forewarned

If you or someone you know suffers from migraines, there are some ways to mitigate their incidence and severity.

  • Pay attention to the weather forecast. Know about upcoming storms, high humidity, or changes in the barometric pressure.
  • Invest in a pair of quality sunglasses to forestall flickering light of all kinds. Look for FL-41 contoured sunglasses as your best protection. This can be a game changer.
  • If you are going to exercise in the summer heat, either do it indoors or early morning/late evening outdoors. An air-conditioned mall is a good place to walk in the early morning hours.
  • Try a melatonin supplement to help you sleep better in summer. Increase B2, omega 3 fatty acids, and magnesium. Drink ginger ale.

Knowing what to expect and when to expect it can reduce migraine episodes in summer.

Contact Puget Sound Neurology at (253) 284-4488 for additional treatments and tips to reduce episodes of migraine headaches especially in the summer.

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