Summertime Migraine Survival

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Living with Migraine disease can be emotionally and physically exhausting. Getting Migraines during the summer can be especially draining because this is typically a time when families take vacations, relax and have fun. Summer is time for pools, picnics and party’s; three things that can trigger a Migraine attack in a snap. So here are some survival skills to help with the three big summer “P’s”

Spending time by a pool can be very problematic for many Migraineurs.  As we cover ourselves up with sunscreen, wear lightweight protective clothing and put hats our heads, our eyes need to be shielded too. When we sit around a pool, care needs to be taken with our eyes, because the sun may not be the only Migraine trigger.  Any glare that may reflect from the pools surface and from other objects around the pool can also be problematic.  Wearing good sunglasses is a must when around any pool. The Center for Disease Control recommends (however untrendy they may be) wearing wraparound sunglasses with as much UVA and UVB ray protection as you can buy. This type of protective sunglasses may also help reduce the risk of cataracts and protect the fragile skin around our eyes.  Shade may be the only option for some people with lupus, MS and other chronic diseases. Being prepared is important when managing these conditions, so packing a big beach umbrella, or cabana in case you are unable to find shade, is a good idea. Moderation here is important too.

If you plan a picnic this summer, whether a family outing or romantic rendezvous, here are a few things to consideration before you go:

  1. Plan your event for the time of the day that is “normally” good for you. Maybe a lunch time picnic would be better than a dinner one, or vice versa.
  2. Pack items that are trigger “safe” foods – ones you currently know won’t trigger a Migraine.
  3. If it’s a family affair, have your family members help plan the foods they want to eat.
  4. Picking your picnic location is important too. With a little effort, you will be able to find a spot that has both a quiet peaceful area for you and some fun for the family.
  5. When invited to a picnic, pre-planning is essential. Eating a light trigger free snack (if you are unsure of the menu) is not a bad idea. If you don’t think there will be anything for you to eat so you won’t trigger a Migraine, bring you own and have fun!
  6. Make sure you have enough water to stay hydrated  – bring along an extra bottle if need be.

Summer parties are fun, but not when you have a Migraine. To ensure you make the most of you party try maintaining a regular sleep schedule, especially on weekends. Sleep plays a vital role in our Migraine management plan. Consider these things when trying to maintain your sleeping schedule:

  1. Keep the time you go to bed and time you wake the same each day.
  2. Make sure your bedroom is restful and relaxing; a place you want to sleep not read or watch TV.
  3. Try to limit any drinks a couple hours before bedtime.
  4. Eat your last meal four hours before you go to bed.
  5. Try to stop napping  during the day – if you must – only take a 30 minute nap before 3 pm.
  6. Use visualization and relaxation techniques to aid with sleep.

There you have it. These simple, easy to do “survival” tips may help us have a better, less Migraine-filled summer. Don’t forget about keeping a Migraine diary too!

To read other fabulous information  on “Summertime Survival Skills for Migraineurs” check out the July 2011 Headache & Migraine Disease Blog Carnival. 

Thanks for reading and feel well,



About the Author

Nancy Bonk is a patient advocate for living with migraine, a regular contributor to Hormones Matter and other online journals. To read her story click HERE.

More posts by Nancy

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