What you might call “the dog days of summer” may be something more menacing for a person prone to migraines.
So how and why does summer weather sometimes trigger these headaches?
“That is a great question,” says Dr. Rashmi Halker Singh, a Mayo Clinic neurologist. “Patients ask me that all the time. We don’t have a great answer.”
For some people, extreme weather conditions may cause imbalances in brain chemicals, which eventually can lead to the severe throbbing pain of a migraine.
“A lot of people with migraines feel that sunlight glare is a trigger,” Dr. Halker Singh says.
Other weather triggers include high humidity, extreme heat and dry air. Dr. Halker Singh says these conditions may lead to another migraine creator.
“In the summertime, when it’s really hot outside, a lot of people forget to maintain adequate hydration,” she explains. “And dehydration can certainly be a risk for migraine attacks to happen.”
Dr. Halker Singh’s advice to people with migraines is to avoid extremes – in summer weather and everyday schedules.
“Be consistent with your eating habits; be consistent with your sleep,” she stresses. “Sometimes skipping meals can be a migraine trigger. Sometimes not sleeping enough or sleeping too much can also be a trigger. So maintaining consistency with that is important.”