Air Pollution and Migraines

According to a study from the densely populated Santiago province of Chile – an area which is prone to air pollution – days of elevated air pollution saw an increased number of hospital admissions for migraines and other headaches.

Woman with mask in polluted city

More evidence that air pollution is seriously bad news for migraine sufferers comes from another, more recent study conducted in Taipei in Taiwan and published in 2015. This study found that, on warm days, increased fine particle levels (higher air pollution) increased clinic visits for migraine by about 13%.

If you live in the countryside, or even just in a mildly populated area rather than a city, then this link between migraine incidence and air pollution might not affect you very much. However, if you’re a migraine sufferer and also one of the 55% of people who live in an urban area, then air pollution can be a real problem. If you don’t want to, or aren’t able to move away to a less polluted area, these tips for reducing the impact of high air pollution days may be worth a try.

Stay indoors

This might sound like an obvious one but it’s worth mentioning. Keep a track of air pollution levels and try to stay inside as much as possible on days when pollution levels are high.

Invest in an air filter

Air conditioning isn’t just helpful when the weather’s hot.

Close your windows

Letting in some fresh air is all well and good…if the air is actually fresh. If it’s not, then keep those windows closed.

Wear a scarf or a mask

This is already a popular approach in Asian countries in cities like Shanghai and Tokyo on high pollution days. You can either opt for a specialist mask with a filter in it or, if you’re worried about being too conspicuous while wearing a mask, wrap a scarf around your mouth and nose and style it out.

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