●Keep equilibrium in your life. Stick to regular patterns — eat at the same time and get the same amount of sleep.
●Stay hydrated. Colder weather brings a dryer atmosphere, so use a humidifier and increase water intake.
●“Don’t pass up those cups of water” when flying. Also consider limiting caffeine during the flight.
●Drink water when consuming alcohol since alcohol dehydrates.
●Avoid alcohol if you know it triggers migraines.
●Keep medication with you at all times and within easy reach. Act quickly. To be effective, abortive medications should be taken in the first 20 to 25 minutes of a headache.
●Try to reduce stress when traveling: confirm plans; get to the airport in plenty of time; have a plan to occupy children if a flight is delayed. If things change, “roll with the punches.”
●If prescriptions aren’t available, try over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen, drink water and find some isolation to fall asleep. A compress on the forehead can help.
Brian Thomas Fletcher, an emergency medicine physician at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, Calif., said he sees an uptick of patients with migraines during the holiday season and other stressful life events. Typically, they have a history of migraine and have already tried their usual regimen of medication.
“It’s not their first time at the rodeo,” he said.
“We do an IV of NSAIDs, and find most migraine sufferers are at least partially dehydrated, so we do IV of fluids, anti-nausea medicine and in some cases, steroids.”
By the time people come to the ER, “they are at their wit’s end, to be honest,” Fletcher said.