Managing Migraines on Vacation
If a travel vacation is in your future and migraines are striking on a regular basis, you are probably wondering how to prevent your headaches from ruining all your fun. Perhaps you feel guilty about letting your family down and worried about missing out, which is not what a vacation is supposed to be about.
If you are boarding a plane for your vacation, you’ll face multiple migraine triggers in addition to those you deal with every day. Everything from the changes in air pressure to dehydration, time zone changes and airplane meals can play a role in triggering a headache. But flying is often part getting to a vacation destination, so what can you do?
Prepare for Take-Off
Just like a flight attendant’s safety and emergency situation instructions are presented so everyone is prepared for take-off, you need to get yourself prepared for dealing with your condition while you are traveling.
Here are a few preparatory suggestions prior to departure:
Book Your Flights Non-Stop
This may seem counter-productive, allowing no break from flight and no period to get up and walk around an airport. But research says that altitude changes can trigger changes in the body’s oxygen levels, which in turn cause blood vessels in the head to react by contracting and expanding. These changes in the blood vessels can trigger a migraine.
Pack a few high protein snacks in your carry-on. Special K protein bars or nuts are perfect – just avoid anything with a lot of salt, which makes you retain fluids and can elevate blood pressure.
Drink Plenty of Water
Coffee tends to help dehydrate you, so limit your consumption. Soda does not rehydrate you like water and diet soda can actually be a trigger for me. Red wine is reportedly a big no-no for migraines for many sufferers. Good old H2O is your best bet.
Shut out the Light
Pack dark sunglasses or a sleeping mask to use on the plane. This can prevent an air-travel headache. Bright or flickering lights can trigger migraines and blocking out the brightness in the cabin may also help you sleep during long flights.