People who take summer vacations often have relaxation and rejuvenation in mind. They welcome the warmer weather and adapt a more adventurous stance as they pack their bags and travel to their favorite vacation spots. For many migraine patients, however, summer vacation is often a risky period in terms of triggers.
First of all, migraine patients have meteorological conditions to keep in mind as they go on vacation. Summer is a period of higher barometric pressure, which can directly impact the hypothalamus. This organ essentially functions as a thermostat for our bodies, and it may trigger brain excitability when the barometric pressure rises.
Second, migraine patients who travel by air, land or sea are often affected by motion sickness. This is another major trigger to worry about during summer vacation, although it can be controlled with medication and by limiting the amount of visual information absorbed while traveling; in other words, sleeping during the trip.
Finally, there is also stress to consider. Taking a summer vacation in a foreign land is always exciting, but it can also be stressful when things do not go as planned. Migraine patients know that stress is the number one trigger of headache episodes; to this effect, it makes perfect sense to prepare for summer by putting together a migraine survival kit.
Items to PackA migraine survival kit for the summer should include treatment, comfort and emergency items.
- Preventative and reactive medications
- Migraine diary
- Travel pillow
- Fleece blanket
- MP3 player with relaxing music
- Dark sunglasses
- Herbal tea
- Flavored water
- Lip balm, skin lotion and aromatherapy items
- Important telephone numbers clearly printed on paper
- Medical history stored electronically and on paper
- Debit card that works on the Visa or MasterCard networks
Preparing for the Trip
Migraine patients who live stressful lives should perform actions that will make them feel more relaxed before they leave. This includes making sure that all bills are paid and that the home will be left in good hands. This also means leaving instructions to coworkers to ensure that duties and responsibilities are covered during the absence; it is very unpleasant to think about all the work piling up while trying to enjoy a beach vacation in Costa Rica.
Travel companions are also essential in the sense that they can help prevent migraines. It is natural for migraine patients who experience auras to panic when they feel one during their vacation. When stress levels are high, aura episodes are more likely to turn into headache episodes, but relatives and loved ones can help migraine patients relax so that their pain is considerably reduced.
Learning about possible food and beverage triggers ahead of the trip is also very helpful; particularly when traveling to a foreign country where the local cuisine is unknown. In Costa Rica, for example, migraine patients will be delighted to find plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, but there may be exotic produce and ingredients that could potentially be migraine triggers. For this reason, it is better to research food items in advance.
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