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Your Healthy Family: Why migraines may be worse in the summer

Posted at 7:46 AM, Jul 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-08 07:50:49-04

If you or someone you love deals with migraines, you may have noticed they seem to get worse during the summer time. A headache specialist said weather is a very important factor when it comes to these headaches.

“Especially around seasonal changes. So as we’re going from winter, into spring, into summer, you have significant barometric pressure change," Dr. Emad Estemalik with Cleveland Clinic said.

Barometric pressure is the measurement of air pressure in the atmosphere, and changes based on temperature, altitude and moisture. As these conditions shift — especially in extreme situations like a thunderstorm — it can impact a person’s sinuses and cause a migraine. It's rainy season in Southwest Florida, when those thunderstorms are more common.

Migraines are considered much more painful than a typical headache, and can lead to other symptoms like nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light. Dr. Estemalik said there are several treatment options, including medications, therapy, Botox, and dietary and other lifestyle changes. He said he understands how terrible migraines can be, and that you don't need to suffer in silence.

"The ones who really are prone to migraines tend to have it the worse, just because, again, when you get a bad one or a severe migraine and it’s not managed quickly, you’re really in a lot of discomfort and pain between four and 72 hours. And you’ve got the typical nausea, vomiting and light sensitivity, so it is really disabling," Dr. Estemalik said.

Doctors estimate nearly half of adults experience headaches, and 12 percent of people in our country get migraines. Women are about three times more likely than men to have migraines.