Heat and Headaches: Summertime may be to blame

Published: Jul. 12, 2023 at 5:40 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) -If you or someone you care about gets migraines, chances are, they get worse in the summer heat.

“Weather is a very important factor and element when it comes to migraine occurrence,” said Emad Estemalik, MD, headache specialist for Cleveland Clinic. “Especially around seasonal changes. So, as we’re going from winter, into spring, into summer, you have significant barometric pressure change.”

Migraines typically last from four to up to 72 hours, and can include nausea and light sensitivity, on top of throbbing pain that’s more severe than a regular headache.

About 12% of Americans, almost 40 million, get migraines, and women are three times more likely to suffer from them.

Early treatment makes a big difference, so understanding triggers is important. Those might include bright light, dehydration, and a change in the environment. That could be a spike in temperature or a drop in barometric pressure, the air pressure in the atmosphere.

The pressure impacts blood vessels around the brain and strains the sinuses, so for many southern Arizonans, a brewing storm could be accompanied by a migraine.

You can keep pain at bay by being prepared. Avoid caffeinated drinks, and stick with water. Do anything you have to do outdoors in the morning or evening, and always wear sunglasses. There are also effective medications, so speak to your doctor.

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