Summer is the season for barbecues, beach trips, and that long-awaited summer vacation, as well as those long-awaited summer Fridays at work. But for some, it can also be the season for headaches.
If you sometimes think like it seems that the summer seems to bring along with it more headaches for you then you’re probably not wrong. There are indeed summer headache triggers that can lead to the kind of headaches that make it hard to enjoy anything, or even to concentrate properly at work.
Researchers have discovered that as the temperature rises so does the risk of headache in many people. According to a Harvard study of more than 7,000 emergency room patients complaining of headaches, the patients’ short-term risk of a serious headache increased 7.5% with every nine-degree Fahrenheit rise in temperature during the 24 hours preceding their hospital visit.
However, the rising heat – and Georgia is famous for its extreme summer heat – may not be the only reason you are reaching for the Advil more often. These other, less expected summer headache triggers may contribute to the problem as well:
This summer cookout staple contains a great many nitrates, substances known to cause headaches in some people. Hot dogs are far from the only food that has them, but the concentration in most popular brands of hot dogs is particularly high. Therefore, if you are already prone to headaches, it may be a better idea to stick to burgers at the next barbecue, or, better still, some nice grilled veggies instead.
It is all too easy to become dehydrated in the summer, and one of the first signs that you need to drink more is a sudden, but stubborn headache that can be particularly severe.
It’s not just about drinking more when it’s hot though, it’s also important to drink the right stuff to avoid dehydration. Summer staples in the form of iced coffee, a cold beer or a chilled glass of wine may taste very refreshing going down, but alcohol and caffeine are both actually very dehydrating in the longer run.
To avoid getting overheated – and a terrible headache – keep a bottle of water with you to sip from at all times and if you happen to be indulging in a few adult beverages at a cookout alternate each drink with a tall, cool glass of water which will not only prevent dehydration but also help you drink a little less too, avoiding another type of nasty headache- a hangover headache – the next day.
That upset win in beach volleyball can go right to your head, literally. Strenuous exercise in hot weather often triggers headaches in many people. To help avoid this take notice of the signals your own body sends you, and don’t be afraid to quit – or at least take a rest break – when the heat is getting to be a little too much.
An occasional headache is something most of us deal with in both the summer and the winter but when headaches are a regular occurrence or are particularly severe, it’s often time to do something more proactive about them than popping more pills. Talk to your doctor about your headaches if avoiding these summer headache triggers does not seem to help, or consider a course of acupuncture, which some people find to be very effective in treating all kinds of headache pain.