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Expert: Summer Can Trigger More Migraines

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CBS Minnesota (con't)

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(CBS) — Summer usually means fun in the sun and leisurely late nights. For some, however, it means more migraines.

“I definitely think I get more in the summer,” said Kristen Deubel, a migraine sufferer. “When they get really bad I do have to spend just hours or even a whole day in bed sometimes.”

Migraine sufferers like Kristen often have to cope with more frequent, debilitating and painful headaches this time of year. Doctors say the picnic menu at backyard barbecues and parties is partly to blame.

“Foods such as cold cuts, pastrami, salami, those are typically made with nitrates, as are hot dogs. So, people eat a lot more of those in the summer and those chemicals can trigger headaches,” said Dr. Juline Bryson, with the Roosevelt Hospital.

The weather itself is another culprit. Heat and humidity cause the body to sweat and lose a lot of water and sodium — that dehydration can spark headaches.

Summer storms with big dips in the barometric pressure can also bring on trouble.

“When the storm clouds are rolling in, when there’s a big “L” on the weather map, people need to be a little more cautious and pay more attention to their triggers,” said Bryson.

To prevent migraines, sticking to the routine is important. Doctors recommend eating and sleeping at the usual time, and taking it easy on the alcohol. Clear, dry alcoholic drinks are less likely to cause an attack.

Kristen tries to do all of that and more.

“It just wasn’t worth it to me anymore to eat those things or drink those things,” said Deubel.

Because she can’t control the weather, but she can control her triggers and enjoy her summer.

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