Enjoy the 4th: Don’t Let a Migraine Rain on Your Parade

July 2nd, 2016

Everybody loves a parade, but 4th of July festivities can often create pain for migraine sufferers.  Taking these precautions can help you enjoy the celebration.  

Be prepared.  Keep MigreLief-Now on hand at all times in case of an emergency and take at the first sign of discomfort.  (Kids age 2-Adult)

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The 4th of July is fun for most everyone. But certain aspects of what we do on the 4th can bring on a migraine attack.

Don’t stress: If you’re in charge of the festivities, make it easy on yourself. Plan a casual day, out of the heat as much as possible. Ask people to bring a dish to share. Don’t plan too many activities; remember to make it about people, not a performance.

Avoid food triggers: Barbequed meats, cheeses, chips, dips, pickles & olives, meat tenderizers and lots of sugary stuff – the chemicals found in these ingredients have all been associated with migraines. If you are going to a celebration where you might not have your choice of foods, take along foods that you know are safe for you. If you have suffered migraines for a long time, you likely know what foods trigger them. If you’re not really sure what foods trigger your migraines, some safe bets are burgers without tenderizers prepared with basic seasonings like salt and pepper, grilled chicken and vegetables or fruit salads.  At the dessert table, a sugar cookie, slice of watermelon or frozen fruit pop may satisfy your sweet-tooth and will likely not lead to a food-triggered headache.


Don’t skip meals.  By skipping a meal your blood sugar levels may drop to a level that causes your body to release hormones that are compensating for depleted glucose levels, this in turn can cause an increase in blood pressure and can narrow your arteries.  The result can be headaches and migraines.

Hydrate!  Keep yourself well hydrated by drinking plenty of water, tea or coffee. If iced drinks are a trigger for you, be sure to ask for your tea without it. Avoid sodas all together, both regular and diet.

Avoid alcohol: Heat, crowds, and other triggers are bad enough, so don’t add alcohol to the mix as it can make you much more sensitive to all of it.  Stick with water, fruit juice, coffee, or if available, beverages sweetened with stevia or erythritol.

Tamp down lights and sound: Take along ear protection if you are triggered by loud noises. You can buy the little foam earplugs at most stores. Consider wearing sunglasses when you watch the fireworks as bright, strobing or blinking lights can be a major migraine trigger.

Hopefully, these hints will make your day a true celebration instead of just a headache in the making.  Be safe, enjoy and may you stay independent of migraines on Independence Day.


Curt Hendrix, M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.