When the summer arrives so do my headaches and not just in the form of my four kids. Headaches can be a real pain this time of year, especially in children who play outdoor sports. Football camp started this week for my twins so here is a little info about summer headaches, what you can do to prevent them and when to be worried about something else.
Why are headaches worse in the summer?
Dehydration is the number one reason for headaches in summer.
The best way to prevent headaches is to drink water, especially when exercising. Even once a headache starts, the first line of treatment should be hydration with water or 8 ounces of an electrolyte drink like Gatorade.
This will often stop the headache right away. If you don’t have relief within 15 minutes, then take a pain reliever such as some ibuprofen, aspirin or Tylenol. One of the biggest mistakes people make is not treating the headache early enough. Be aggressive with the fluids and the hydration and you may avoid having to use stronger medications.
When these simple measures don’t work, then see a physician to discuss prescription medications such as a family of drugs called triptans.
2. Summer Sun
It’s not just the heat, but bright sun will often trigger headaches. Wear a hat or sunglasses and use an umbrella to greatly decrease the chance of a headache.
3. Sleep schedule
Sleep deprivation is a major reason why children will suffer from headaches and the best thing to do is have the child rest or take a nap. They will often have relief when they wake up. Sleep disruption and stress affects adults too but often times their headache will get worse while they sleep so hydrate and give medication before resting. Stick to a regular schedule, especially while on vacation, and exercise to prevent headaches.
4. Summer picnic triggers
Oh the wonderful summer barbeque. I Love them but often regret what I ate at them (and not just the excess calories). Summer picnic foods are filled with headache triggers. Nitrates in hot dogs and sausage, citrus in lemonade, aged cheese, chocolate in brownies and the worst, of course, alcohol, especially red wine.