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Tips for Summer Fun Despite Migraine: Migraine Awareness Month Blogging Challenge

National Migraine Awareness Month Blog Challenge, Day 4: What’s the best tip you can offer others for having some summer fun despite migraine?

I wrote about staying hydrated, my very best tip for coping with migraines in the summer, for Migraine.com today. Then I went out in the Phoenix heat and remembered my second-best coping mechanism: ice packs and cool neck wraps.

If I have to drive somewhere in the heat of the day, I take along hard ice packs that normally go in the ice chest as well as a couple softer ice packs, like my beloved Medi-Temp Head-Neck Hot/Cold Therapy Pad*. I wrap the Medi-Temp pad around my neck twice and place the other ice packs wherever feels good, usually a couple behind my back, one in my cleavage (*blush*), and one under the seat belt against my belly. I look like a complete dork, but feel so much cooler. The hard packs usually stay cold even if I leave them in the car when I go into stores. On particularly hot days, I’ll put them in a soft-sided cooler before I get out of the car.

Cooling neck wraps are useful when I’m need to stay cool (temperature-wise) in public. More attractive than an ice pack, they still aren’t terribly stylish — but they are better than a migraine attack! Just soak one in water for about 10 minutes to activate it and it will keep you a little cooler for several hours. If you’re somewhere humid, it is best best if you can stick the wrap in an ice chest occasionally to reinvigorate it.

What do you do to keep migraine attacks at bay in the summer?

National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by the National Headache Foundation. The Blogger’s Challenge is initiated by Fighting Headache Disorders.

*The Medi-Temp head wrap is a new discovery and I love, love, love it for migraine attacks. It has good coverage, stays cold for nearly an hour (I put a dish towel under it so it isn’t too cold against my skin), and stays in place when I move around. It is a quick, easy and inexpensive way to relieve the immediate pain of a migraine. I only wish I had two.

6 Responses to Tips for Summer Fun Despite Migraine: Migraine Awareness Month Blogging Challenge

  1. Tricia Bond says:

    Hi Kerrie Smyres;

    I just read your post and you are right on the spot… I suffer from Hemiplegic Migraines. For a year straight I had an ongoing migraine that almost ruined my life. I lost my house my job and my business, and almost my life. Finally I was sent to Stanford Medical where I met Dr. Robert Cowan. My life took a change for the better. One of the things that we need to understand is that when we have a chronic anything, there must be a strict schedule kept. From when one eats to when one sleeps, and when one takes his or her medication. This will also include exercise, whether it is just walking for 5 minutes, or jogging. This all needs to be the same time every day. When I started doing this my body knew what to do and when to do it. Chronic pain and chronic migraines will throw one’s body completely out of control and by using a strict schedule this will promote healthy stimulation. Knowing ones triggers is also important. I know that this is not going to work for everyone but for me it works and I have my life back. Dr Robert Cowan gave my life back to me, by taking away the over the counter med’s and adding Verapamil. I am now on the road to recovery and have not had a Hemiplegic attack since January of 2012. Thank you for sharing your post…

    Tricia Bond.

  2. Christina says:

    Those ice packs are amazing. My wife has NDPH (New Daily Persistant Headache) and Occipital Neuralgia and SWEARS by them! In fact, she’s sitting across the room wearing one around her head at the moment. We keep our eyes out for them all the time and have quite the collection. There are always a few in the freezer ready to be switched out.

    She uses them so frequently, she has even worn in into the grocery store and not realized until she saw her reflection in a cooler door!

  3. Tricia: I’m glad you’ve found some relief. I knew keeping a schedule was important, but that’s the strictest version I’ve heard. Really interesting idea that it promotes “healthy stimulation.” Thanks for the information.

    Christina: Great news that your wife has had success with these great ice packs. I bet the grocery store gaffe has caused lots of laughter!

    Take care,
    Kerrie

  4. Kate says:

    I do best completely staying out of the heat, but if I need to go out, I definitely stay in the shade, wear a wide brimmed hat, and cover my arms & legs with lightweight fabric. Lots of cold drinks too. For some reason I seem to get heat stroke symptoms with any sun exposure which increases my head pain. I’d use ice packs more except I can’t seem to tolerate the weight on my head to put it on my forehead, so its typically just my neck if I’m stuck on the coach with a bad episode.

    • Kate,

      Interesting that you get heat stroke symptoms with sun exposure. I get heat stroke symptoms in the heat, but sun exposure doesn’t seem to be a factor, though I’ll have to watch out for it.

      Have you tried cooling pads? They are lightweight, though having anything on your head may be irritating for you.

      Take care,
      Kerrie

  5. Kate says:

    I’ll definitely put something on my neck if I can (often its an out all day going in & out of the sun on vacation thing), but yeah anything on my head is a no go..a hat is bothering enough. I’m guessing the heat insensitivity is with the fibro or the auto immune, not specifically my headache, but its always tough to know. I have Reynaud’s too so sometimes I’ll be overheated & sweating but my fingers will be numb. You have to laugh at something like that. Thanks!

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