While migraines can be triggered by a variety of factors, weather changes can pose a specific challenge for sufferers. People with debilitating headaches tend to be sensitive to changes, whether in their own body or in their environment. These changes can then cause impacts on the brain, which increase the chance of an attack. While there are some measures sufferers can take to ensure their environment is stable, changes in weather can be one trigger that is impossible to avoid.
Weather changes do not need to be drastic to have an impact on sufferers. A simple change in air pressure can directly trigger an attack, while increased temperatures can cause dehydration that indirectly triggers an attack. Those with migraines may find stable weather conditions more ideal, even when those conditions are extreme.
Weather Changes that Can Trigger Attacks
- Sun Glare and Bright Lights: Migraines can be triggered by an excess of light, such as the intense sunlight on summer days.
- Changes in Barometric/Air Pressure: Changes in barometric pressure occur when weather patterns shift, such as before a storm. The changes in the air pressure can potentially trigger an attack.
- Temperature Changes: When temperatures rise, people tend to sweat, leading to dehydration and a potential attack.
How to Minimize the Impacts of Weather on Migraine
While weather changes are difficult to avoid, it is important to pay attention to the weather forecast if you suffer from migraines. Awareness can help the sufferer to prepare and mitigate risks. Some considerations include:
- Protect the Eyes: Avoid being outdoors during peak hours of brightness when possible, or else bring a hat or protective sunglasses to minimize glare and light. Remember that light reflecting off water or snow can also be very intense.
- Stay Hydrated: Consuming more water on hot days can help to offset fluid loss when sweating. Overall, staying well hydrated prevents dehydration from triggering an attack.
- Limit Other Triggers: Following a routine regardless of the weather can help to reduce attacks for those whose migraines start from a combination of triggers. Addressing the triggers that can be controlled, like inadequate sleep or not eating regular meals, can limit the number of triggers sufferers are exposed to at one time.
While it is impossible to eliminate all the impacts of weather changes, people who suffer from migraines can take these basic steps to improve weather tolerance and reduce attacks. The Will Erwin Headache Research Foundation is dedicated to increasing awareness about debilitating headaches and their treatments with the mission to find a cure for all debilitating headaches. If you want to learn more about The Foundation’s mission, visit our website, or if you want to be a part of the furtherance of headache research, consider contributing here.