Celebrating NYE: 3 Tips for Migraine Sufferers

Tis the season to be jolly… until a migraine sidelines your holiday party plans. Everything from a few glasses of bubbly to the wrong combination of food can trigger a migraine episode. If you suffer from migraines, it’s tempting to forgo all the celebrations and simply stay home. But with a little pre-planning, you can still enjoy the festivities – and feel as great waking up on New Year’s Day as you did watching the ball drop at midnight.

Don’t ring in the New Year with an “unwanted guest” this year. Follow these three tips to kick off a great 2014:

1. Stay hydrated and monitor alcohol consumption

Dehydration is one of the biggest migraine triggers. Even if you are not drinking alcohol, a few too many cups of coffee can trigger a migraine. If you are drinking, alternate an alcoholic beverage with a glass of water. Watch out for certain types of alcohol, like red wine, champagne and whiskey, which are known to trigger migraines. Some scientists blame headaches on impurities in these alcoholic beverages, such as the higher concentration of sulfites in red wine. Some researchers believe champagne is a common migraine trigger because the bubbles carry alcohol into the bloodstream faster.

How to avoid a migraine:
If you know that a specific alcoholic drink consistently triggers migraines, avoid alcoholic beverages altogether and opt for club soda or water. However, that’s no reason to miss out on the bubbly. If you’re attending a friend’s party, bring your own bottle of non-alcoholic sparkling cider for a toast at midnight. Even with sparkling cider, be sure to alternate glasses with water to stay hydrated all night.

2. Watch food consumption for migraine triggers

Aged cheeses, cured meats and other foods that contain the substance tyramine are considered common migraine triggers. As foods age, the proteins in these foods breakdown, forming tyramine. Blue cheese, brie, cheddar, feta, gorgonzola, stilton, mozzarella, muenster, parmesan, swiss and processed cheeses all have high concentrations of tyramine. Food additives and preservatives are also common migraine triggers. Additives, such as nitrates, dilate the blood vessels, which in turn may trigger a migraine. For other migraine sufferers, cold foods cause “brain freeze”, which in turn triggers migraine pain. The fast consumption of ice cream and other cold foods is one of the most common migraine triggers, affecting more than 90% of all migraine sufferers.

How to avoid a migraine:
At a party, it’s all too easy to mindlessly snack on cheeses, meats and other seasonal specialties that are migraine triggers. When these foods are combined with a few glasses of red wine, it’s prime time for a migraine. Keep an eye on your food consumption and watch out for foods with preservatives, artificial flavors or artificial sweeteners, like aspartame, which have been linked to migraine headache pain.

3. Pack a migraine relief kit 

Even the best laid plans can go awry! If you feel a migraine coming on, a migraine survival kit may be able to provide immediate migraine relief so you don’t have to miss out on the ball dropping. Keep essential supplies close at hand, including fluids for rehydration and medication to combat your symptoms. Some migraine sufferers also benefit from over-the-counter vitamins, such as Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), magnesium and butterbur. Talk to your doctor about what vitamins and medication are right for your migraine relief needs.

How to avoid a migraine:
If you are at a friend’s house for a New Year’s Eve party and feel symptoms coming on, drink a bottle of water, take your medication and ask to lie down for 30 minutes. A quick nap or rest will give the medication time to kick in and ensure you can come back and join the festivities – rather than heading home early and miss out on ringing in the New Year.

Finally, remember that New Year’s Eve can be a dangerous time not only for migraines, but also for general safety. If you drive, stay alert and avoid alcohol. If you take migraine medication that causes side effects – or anticipate the need to take any medication while you are out – be prepared with a safe ride home. Avoid migraine triggers and always have a migraine relief kit on-hand, just in case.

New Year’s Eve should be a fun, exciting evening filled with celebration, not one that sends you to the emergency room for a migraine. With a little pre-planning, you can ring in the New Year and feel great!

Image Source: *Sally M*


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