In the heat of the moment

Tackling headaches

In the heat of the moment

The temperature is soaring and so is the number of ailments connected with it. What tops this list of health challenges is the oft-ignored headache. From migraines to cluster headaches, the season sees a huge increase in this problem and this calls for immediate attention.

Ever since the temperature hit 35 degree celsius last week, Akansha Jain, a young professional, has been popping painkillers to relieve headaches. “But these stopped helping after a while and I visited a doctor, only to find out that I was dehydrated. The long travelling hours during the weekdays also started taking a toll on me,” she says.

Akansha found out that she needed to increase her intake of water-based fruits and
vegetables.

“From tender coconut water to fresh fruit juice, I make it a point to keep sipping on something now, as this acts as a great stress reliever as well as a coolant,” she adds.

One must drink a lot of water during this season as dehydration can lead to frequent headaches. Dr Chandil Gunashekar, a general physician, points out that it is one of the first symptoms the body shows when it is depleted of essential water content.

“The human body needs a specific amount of water based on one’s diet and weight. When the intake is less and excretion is more, the water quotient required for the proper functioning of the body is lesser. Thus headaches occur ,” he states.
Last year, when the city’s temperature soared to 40 degrees celsius, several cases of headaches and dehydration were observed, points out  Dr Chandil, adding that this issue will crop up this year too.

When the temperature increases, a seven to eight percent hike can be seen in cases of migraine headaches, says Dr PR Krishnan, consultant neurologist, Fortis Hospitals. “Exposure to the sun and extreme climates have been identified as major triggers,” he says. In the last one week itself, he says he has observed a 10 percent hike in the number of patients suffering from headaches.

Though environmental changes are unavoidable, the best way to keep a headache at bay is to keep a check on  one’s eating pattern and avoid foods like cheese. “Also avoid high-caffeine drinks like coffee or aerated drinks, which tend to dehydrate the body even further,” says Dr Krishnan.

Add the troubling traffic to the worrisome weather and this can lead to an increase in the stress levels of many people, especially those who travel long distances.

Dr Anuradha HK, consultant neurologist, Aster CMI Hospital, says those who have  longer routes and a higher number of travelling hours under the hot sun have higher chances of getting headaches.

 “Stress headaches are on the rise during the season. If someone is dehydrated for a long while, they are prone to these. The traffic can make anyone lose their cool which also affects one’s working hours. This in turn piles on stress till the end of the day,” she says.

“But prescription doesn’t always include medicines. There are several steps, apart from staying hydrated, that one should take up to avoid these. Lifestyle modifications are the need of the hour.

Doing basic breathing exercises is also important,”she adds.

With the climate changing, eating properly and sleeping  well also becomes crucial. “Avoid eating junk and spicy food. Meditative exercises,  combined with a healthy lifestyle, is one of the most effective ways of combating this problem,” elaborates Anuradha.

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