By Dr. Sahil Kohli

When temperatures in the summer are soaring within the Delhi NCR region so are the complaints of patients of headaches and migraine exacerbations. The summer heat could be an underlying cause of headaches as well as migraines. The milder version of headaches during summer can include an aching sensation in the head and neck, fatigue, sensitivity sounds and light and dehydration. Sometimes, headaches can be caused by heat exhaustion . It is characterized by muscle cramps, dizziness, weak attacks of fainting, numbness in the neck and face nausea and vomiting, pale and cold, clammy skin sweaty sweats that are drenching, weakness and fatigue as well as an uncontrollable thirst. In the event of heat exhaustion, headaches must be treated promptly as they could lead into heatstroke.

For those who suffer from migraines the summer temperatures can trigger migraine attacks , and they can experience an increase in frequency and severity of discomfort. Strategies to prevent exacerbations include

1. Drinking plenty of water (staying well hydrated)

2. Limiting outdoor times on hotter days.

3. A hat, sunglasses, and sunblock can be helpful.

4. Limiting your exercise to indoors If you have to exercise, you should remain indoors in a cool space.

5. Cold compresses, herbal teas iced (without caffeine) and NSAIDs may aid in the reduction of headache.

The importance of drinking enough water: As a rule of thumb, take at minimum 2 litres of water. In the summer heat when you’re working out it is possible to boost that number to around 2.5 liters. When you’re dehydrated the brain may shrink, and cause the brain to separate from the skull. This can lead to headaches. When you get rid of your dehydration, your brain returns to its normal state, which eases headaches. Coconut drinks and sports drinks with electrolytes as well as plenty of water, including Nimboo Pani and Shikanji can also aid in keeping you well-hydrated.

Summer and exercise: When a person is exercising their blood vessels in their skull expand. If you engage in strenuous sports, such as lifting weights, running and group sports (like volleyball) they can lead to headaches. Avoiding these activities during the summer heat is recommended. But another method to prevent headaches caused by exercising is to create some warm-up exercises which will help avoid headaches. The best warmup exercises are stretching exercises, followed by moderate jogging and walking.

Avoid eating foods that contain MSG or nitrates (monosodium glutamate) or foods with a high salt content , like pickles, processed foods and even processed food. Focus on juices, salads and yoghurt, and stay clear of red wine, caffeine chocolates, aged cheese.

Overall headaches are more frequent in the summer. Drinking plenty of water, limiting sun exposure and paying careful attention to food triggers and not refusing to exercise too much will reduce the chance of frequent and intense headaches. But even with these measures’ headaches will happen and might require analgesics. If migraine headaches are frequent and more than 4 per month, medical attention to prevent or prophylactic treatment. could be considered with the guidance of a neuroologist.

(The author is a Senior Consultant – Neurology at Max Super Speciality Hospital, Gurugram. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of )