Heat headaches: What to do?
Heat headaches are unlikely to result from the heat itself.
In most cases, the cause will be another trigger that is associated with heat.
The following are some common triggers of headaches in warmer temperatures:
Dehydration triggers a headache because a lack of liquids leads to the constriction of blood vessels.
Heat-related illnesses are common during warmer months.
A person should limit their time in hot environments and avoid excessive exercise in the heat. If a person develops either heat exhaustion or heatstroke, a headache is a common symptom.
Other headache triggers
Several environmental triggers can potentially cause a headache or migraine to occur. Some potential headache or migraine triggers that are common in warmer months include:
too much sun or light
dehydration from not drinking enough
fragrances from perfumes or sunscreen
not following a routine by skipping meals
not following a routine by skipping medication
medication becoming less effective at higher temperatures
exercising in the heat
Heat or environmental headaches may present different symptoms depending on what is causing them.
If heat exhaustion is the cause of a headache, a person may experience additional symptoms relating to being overheated. According to the CDC, the following are some warning signs of heat exhaustion:
sweating a lot
vomiting or nausea
weakness or feeling tired
cold or clammy skin
fast but weak pulse
Heatstroke has similar symptoms to heat exhaustion, but it is more serious. A person should call 112 if someone experiences the following symptoms:
hot, dry, or damp skin
nausea or vomiting
strong, fast heartbeat
high body temperature above 103°F
reddened skin, in people with lighter skin tones
Headache prevention and treatment
A person can take steps to prevent and treat headaches due to heat, dehydration, or other environmental triggers.
drinking plenty of liquids throughout the day
avoiding excessive sun exposure
taking regular breaks in shaded areas
wearing polarized sunglasses
wearing fragrance-free sunscreen or other lotions
avoiding exercise in extreme heat
continuing to eat meals on a normal schedule
taking medications according to the prescription
keeping medications at room temperature
If a person has a headache, some self-care techniques may help reduce or eliminate the pain. These include:
taking a rest in a shaded area
using a cold pack or ice to help lower the body temperature
avoiding caffeinated beverages
waiting until it is cooler to exercise