Can Summer Trigger Migraines?

Janet Tiberian Author
By Janet Tiberian, MA, MPH, CHES
August 14, 2016
Are Migraines More Common in the Summer?

Late summer conditions create the perfect storm for people who suffer from migraines. High temperatures, high humidity and sun glare are common migraine triggers. So is dehydration. And late summer is the beginning of fall allergy season, with ragweed pollen and mold spores swirling in the heat. And—you guessed it—environmental allergies and sinus problems can also trigger migraines.

Over the last few years, researchers from the University of Cincinnati Health Center found additional ties between allergies and migraines. For instance, a study they conducted a few years ago suggested that migraine sufferers with allergies endured a more severe form of headache compared to migraine sufferers without allergies. And another study identified pre-existing asthma as a predictor of chronic migraines among people with deal with occasional migraines. Researchers theorized that people with asthma more than likely have allergies, which seems to raise the risk of migraines.

Other factors also may trigger migraines, including eating foods that are pickled (e.g., eggs, cucumbers or beets) or aged (e.g., cheese, pepperoni or wine) and fluctuating hormones, which helps explain the reason migraines are more common among women.

Migraines, a condition that affects 38 million people in the United States, can cause nausea and/or vomiting, debilitating pain behind one eye or ear and the temples, seeing spots or flashing lights and sensitivity to light and/or sound.

Although it’s often difficult to prevent migraines, the following tips may help lessen the chances summer conditions will trigger one:

Control allergies

  • Keep track of pollen counts and limit outdoor activities when pollen counts are high.
  • Remove and wash clothes worn during outdoor activities.
  • Taking medications as prescribed.
  • Keep your windows closed and use your air condition with a HEPA filter that’s changed on a regular basis.
  • Shower and wash your hair before bed.
  • Dry your clothes in a clothes dryer, as opposed to clothes line.
  • Use area rugs that can be shook out and washed, instead of carpeting.
  • Wash linens weekly and use allergen-proof covers on pillows and mattresses.

Prevent dehydration

  • Drink plenty of water and juices throughout the day.
  • Limit caffeinated and alcoholic beverages.
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep deprivation can cause migraines. Summer vacations and longer hours of daylight can interfere with your sleep patterns.

If you are struggling getting enough sleep, keep a sleep diary and share it with your MDVIP-affiliated physician. If you suffer with migraines, be sure to discuss them with your MDVIP-affiliated physician. Don’t have an MDVIP-affiliated doctor? MDVIP has a nationwide network of physicians. Find one near you and begin your partnership in health

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About the Author
Janet Tiberian Author
Janet Tiberian, MA, MPH, CHES

Janet Tiberian is MDVIP's health educator. She has more than 25 years experience in chronic disease prevention and therapeutic exercise.

View All Posts By Janet Tiberian, MA, MPH, CHES
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