Wednesday 7 December 2016

Keeping holiday headaches at bay

Published 26/07/2016 | 02:30

Migraine - there are steps you can take to avoid them.
Migraine - there are steps you can take to avoid them.

Holidays can be a headache for Ireland's 500,000 migraine sufferers due to the stress of airplanes, hot climates and switches in routine.

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An attack can mean 4-72 hours of symptoms which include nausea, vomiting, an intense throbbing headache and extreme sensitivity to light, noise and smells.

"Many of the factors we associate with holidays such as flights, heat and changes in routine are common migraine triggers," says Jane Whelan, communications officer with the Migraine Association of Ireland (MAI). "However, there are things people can do to reduce the likelihood of an attack."

* Flights: Be aware that changes in air pressure, high altitude, delayed meals and dehydration are all migraine triggers. Drink plenty of water and eat appropriate snacks to maintain blood sugar levels.

* Heat and sunlight: Sunglasses are essential in bright conditions. Wrap-arounds are more effective than ordinary glasses, and high UV resistance and polarised lenses are other features that may help reduce sun * Changes in routine: Stick to regular eating and sleeping patterns. This can mean avoiding lie-ins or taking a nap during the day.

* Stress: An extra day off work before the journey gives a more gradual 'let down' period and can reduce the chances of an attack.

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