As summer shifts toward fall, for many, August is not a time to grab a last minute vacation but rather a time to endure the extreme heat. The majority of the U.S. suffers hot, sticky August nights and while it’s great for the crops heading toward early harvest, sleeping can be particularly uncomfortable and trouble for migraineurs.
While a lot of people have central air to mitigate the heat, many people have either inadequate air conditioning or none at all. For several areas of the U.S., August is a rainy season fraught with extremely uncomfortable levels of humidity. At 90 degrees, anything over 70% humidity is considered extremely uncomfortable and can be deadly for asthmatics. For those sensitive to barometric-pressure change migraines, the rising and falling humidity of August can make one feel as though they are on a migraine roller-coaster. Migraineurs often feel in August that, around the clock, they either have a migraine or are anticipating one at any moment.
Headache Prevention for Outdoor Enthusiasts
As a basic outdoor strategy, be sure to wear dark sunglasses and a broad-brimmed hat. Also, staying hydrated is key to avoiding light and heat related headaches. Humidity is really tough to control out of doors, but following some of the suggestions made in preventing barometric pressure and altitude headaches is good general advice for those who will be out in the humidity as well.
The barometer drops rapidly just before a storm, and your blood vessels may react to that, trying to equalize the pressure. Many sufferers recognize this fact and even find themselves watching the weather channel to know when to anticipate a summer storm migraine.
Strategies for barometric pressure headaches
Some migraineurs have reported that lying down in a dark room can ward off the pressure headache, but if you are or want to be an outdoor enthusiast, you have to figure out other ways to deal with it. The good news is there are gadgets that can help you. If you are one who prefers gadgets over devices and apps, Newspring Power International Company, Ltd. offers a fishing barometer designed to check the barometric pressure at specific locations.
The application for migraineurs is that you can set the device for up to six places where you might wish to go for the day, and program it to warn you when a storm is approaching any of those places. If you prefer a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant), there are several smart phones and tablets which have barometric sensors with free apps that will send you alarms when pressure reaches the danger zone for you.
A de-humidifier can mitigate some of the indoor humidity. Also, keep blinds drawn to keep the house cooler.
Keep from exerting yourself as much as possible, especially out of doors, and plan your shopping-musts around the cooler parts of the day.
Cook smart – use your microwave instead of the stove, prepare cool, summer meals involving salads and yogurt products. Don’t succumb to fast foods or snack foods, but have on hand foods that you can put together quickly.
If you sleep under a fan, avoid colds, sinus problems, neck pain that can trigger migraines by covering your neck as you sleep. Keep a towel or light, children’s blanket just for draping over your neck while you sleep.
If you feel yourself getting overheated, wet your skin and lie down in front of or underneath a fan. Putting off your shower till the heat of the afternoon is a good idea for refreshing yourself. Of course one nice idea is simply getting away to cooler climates in August.
MORE HOT TIPS TO STAY COOL!
- – Soak a t-shirt in the sink in cool water (not cold or chilled water), wring it out, put it on and sit in the shade or in front of a fan. (You may want to save this one for when you’re alone, unless you’re going for that ‘wet t-shirt’ contest!)
- – Fill a plastic spray bottle with water and freeze over night. You will have a cool mist that lasts for hours.
- – Soak your feet in cold water. The body radiates heat from the hands, feet, face and ears, so cooling any of these will naturally cool the body.
- – Wear light colors darker colors will absorb the sun’s rays and be warmer than light or white clothing, which reflects light and heat.
- – Minty fresh use mint scented or menthol lotions and soaps to cool your skin.
- – More alcohol just the rubbing alcohol please! Put some rubbing alcohol on a damp washcloth and hold it on the back of your neck and sit near a fan. The evaporative effect can feel 30 degrees cooler.
FROZEN GRAPES: To stay cool, try this naturally sweet frozen treat.
1. Wash and dry green or red grapes.
2. Place in sealable plastic bag.
3. Keep in freezer for 2 hours or until frozen.
4. Fill a bowl with several ice cubes and place the bag in the bowl to keep cool while you enjoy!
Again, remember to keep MigreLief-NOW on hand in times of trouble and take 2-4 capsules at the first sign of discomfort. Children between the age of 2-12, should take exactly 1/2 the adult dose.
Enjoy the remainder of your summer and stay cool!
Curt Hendrix, M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.
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