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Outsmart summer migraines

Two smiling women outdoors in tank tops.

July 22, 2021—Ah, summer! It's here. But the warm, sunny weather so many of us crave also has the potential to bring on migraines in some people.

This doesn't mean you have to retreat inside if you are prone to migraines. These six tips from the American Migraine Foundation can help you stay headache-free—and enjoy summer to the fullest.

1. Stay hydrated. Summer's heat, humidity and activity can cause dehydration, a trigger for about one-third of people with migraines. Being even slightly dehydrated can leave you with a nasty headache. So when you're out and about, always carry a water bottle. And choose water over other drinks—it's the best way to stay hydrated.

2. Be sun-shy. Bright, natural light and excessive heat are two common migraine triggers, making summer sun double the trouble for some people. So dress defensively: Wear hats with wide brims to shield your face, neck, upper chest and back from the sun's rays. Slip on sunglasses—ideally, polarized ones that cut glare. And beat the heat with a spray bottle of cold water or a wet bandana around your neck.

3. Skip scented products. If odors trigger your migraines—or make them worse—leave scented sunscreens and insect repellents on the shelf. That doesn't mean you should go without protection from the sun or bug bites, though. Instead, look for fragrance-free products.

4. Don't skimp on sleep. As tempting as it may be to stay up and play during this season of fun, try to stick to your normal sleep schedule. Too little or too much shut-eye may set you up for a migraine.

5. Stick to your safe foods. Don't "treat" yourself to trigger foods, even on getaways. They're no treat if you wind up feeling miserable.

6. Mind your medicine. High heat may make migraine medicines less effective. At home, store your medicine in a cool, dark place. When traveling, carry it with you rather than checking it on a plane or stashing it in a car trunk.

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