Summer Sees Surge in Migraine Cases, PHCC Expert Says
In Doha, Qatar, the summer months can bring an escalation in migraine attacks for some individuals. The higher temperatures, fueled by factors like intense sunlight, confined airspaces, and inadequate hydration, can act as triggers on sweltering summer days.
The Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) has issued advice to the public, emphasizing the importance of limiting direct exposure to sunlight during this season and recommending the use of sunglasses as a means to alleviate migraine symptoms that are often exacerbated by sensitivity to bright sunlight.
Dr. Muhammad Al Mashhadani, a Family Physician at PHCC's Airport Health Center, clarifies that headaches can be classified into two types, with one being migraines. Migraines are typically characterized by pain on one side of the head and are sometimes accompanied by symptoms like nausea and vomiting. They are influenced by weather fluctuations, which disrupt the balance of brain chemicals like serotonin, thus triggering migraine episodes.
These weather-related variables include exposure to intense sunlight or glare, extreme heat in regions with hot summers, extreme cold in places experiencing chilly winters, as well as high humidity, dry air, and strong winds. All of these factors can negatively impact serotonin secretion, leading to migraines.
Dr. Al Mashhadani recommends that individuals track their migraine episodes on a daily basis, recording details such as severity, timing, duration, and potential triggers. This can help determine whether weather changes play a role in migraine onset or if other factors are at play.
To prevent migraine attacks, he advises the public to limit direct sun exposure, maintain a healthy diet, and engage in light physical activities. If migraine symptoms manifest, finding solace in a dark, quiet room, staying adequately hydrated, taking migraine-specific medications, and ensuring sufficient rest are recommended.
Conversely, normal headaches are often linked to tension and stress. These headaches typically manifest as moderate pain and may be accompanied by symptoms like elevated blood pressure, sinusitis, ear and middle ear infections, or toothaches, often accompanied by a pulsating sensation. Treating normal headaches involves addressing the underlying causes, which may include infections, stress, and other factors. Over-the-counter pain relievers like paracetamol can also be effective, and avoiding exposure to tobacco smoke is advisable.