5 Summer Headache Triggers (And How To Avoid Them)


Headaches are pretty awful, just ask the millions of Americans who have suffered from one or more in the last year (or last week). But when your head is pounding, the prevalence of headaches is little consolation (especially when summer has only just begun). There are so many things to be out enjoying; sunshine, pool time, relaxation—pretty much anything other than a headache.

And while the warm weather is one of the most beloved parts of the season, it’s also one of the worst triggers for headaches of all types. In fact, according to a recent study, higher temperatures can increase both frequency and intensity of headaches. At least you’ll have an excuse to stay cool in the air conditioning all summer long—right?

In all seriousness, though, there are several headache hazards that you may encounter this season, high temperatures being just one of them. Pain-proof your summer by avoiding these 5 triggers:

1.    Hot Dogs: Whether you’re someone who enjoys your dog covered with mustard and relish or burned to a crisp, it makes no difference as hot dogs are full of nitrites (so are bacon and salami). While nitrates are present in many healthy foods, when processed meats are cooked at high temperatures (like grilling), they turn into nitrosamines, which are no good.

Helpful Hint: Opt for the other summer staple, a juicy, tasty (turkey) burger.

2.    Dehydration: Drinking water is always important—no matter the time of year—but since sweating is at an all-time high during the summer months, it bears repeating. Even being slightly dehydrated is hard on your body and will likely cause a headache sooner rather than later. Other subtle signs you may be dehydrated, include bad breath, lethargy and muscle cramps.

Helpful Hint: Try infusing your water with fresh fruit to add some flavor and nutrients. Also, enjoy snacking on seasonal favorites, like watermelon, that are full of water.

3.    Sunshine: Your skin isn’t the only thing that can get a sunburn. That’s right, overexposure to UV rays can cause damage to the surface of your eyes, similar to a sunburn. And if you aren’t sporting protective shades, this makes eye strain, fatigue and headaches more likely.

Helpful Hint: Make sure those stylish sunnies block at least 99% of UV rays. And to complete your summer ensemble, add a hat to block additional light.

4.    Sunscreen: This summertime must is often filled with various fragrances and scents, which is what makes it smell like summer in a bottle. But when paired with other scents found in bug spray, perfumes and other essentials, fragrant sunscreen can lead to smell overload and headaches.

Helpful Hint: When available, choose no-fragrance options or mild scents.

5.    Change in routine: All those lazy afternoons, fun late nights and exotic vacations are what make summertime so magical. However, lazy afternoons can lead to skipping meals, which make headaches more likely. And if that doesn’t do it, late nights and a lack of sleep certainly will.

Helpful Hint: There’s no denying that your health thrives with routine, that’s why it’s so important to stay up-to-date with routine primary care visits. As the health expert that knows you best, your primary care provider can help you avoid headaches with helpful tips—like safe summer exercises and storing your medications while traveling—while also tackling other summer bummers.

Find your healthy summer at GMC Primary Care & Specialty Center-Suwanee. With extensive services, helpful resources and personal support, you’ll be able to make the most of this special season. Peace of mind is possible with expert health care you can always count on.

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