The “Migraine Aware” holiday host
So you’re hosting Christmas this year and the guests have already started to arrive. Among the many things still left to do, you remember that so-and-so always seems to get a migraine just as everyone else is starting to have fun. You want to be a good host, but you really have no idea how to help this person.
Many experienced migraineurs travel with their own “Migraine Kit” that contains everything they need. Even if this is the case, your guest will still appreciate your efforts and may discover something new to add to his or her own “kit”. Often, prescription medications are required to manage migraine attacks. However, by thinking ahead and having critical OTC medicines available, you let your guest know that you are “Migraine Aware” and thinking of his or her needs.
There are some thoughtful things you can do to let your guest know he or she (and the migraine) is welcome. You probably already have a few things laying around your house that will help your guest. Just gather them up and let your guest know he or she is welcome to use them during the holiday.
- Ice bag – Anything flexible will do. I tend to prefer an older style bag that I can fill with ice and wrap a dish towel around. It stays cold and flexible the longest.
- Sore muscle rub – Icy Hot, Ben Gay, Tiger Balm, BioFreeze…whatever you have will be appreciated.
- Vicks – Migraineurs use this to block out smells that trigger attacks. While you are at it, inform other guests that your celebrations are “fragrance-free” so no one arrives bathed in offensive perfume that will make your migraineur sick
- Ear plugs – Even headphones can help. These will dull the joyful noises of celebration when your guest experiences phonophobia (painful sensation to normal sound volume)
- Rice bag – Everyone has something filled with rice, flaxseed, or corn that can be heated in the microwave. Whatever you have, share it with your migraineur guest.
- Eye mask – A soft eye mask will block out light from windows and doors that can become painful to your guest.
- Sunglasses – These are a thoughtful gesture. When a migraineur experiences photophobia (painful sensation to normal light), worn indoors, sunglasses ease the strain on painful eyes.
- Massager – We’ve all been given some kind of back massager, neck massager, or something that vibrates to relax muscles. Your guest will appreciate the use of whatever you have.
- Water bottle – Provide your guest with a water bottle that can be refilled throughout the celebration. Migraineurs need to exercise special care to stay hydrated. Your guest will need to do this in a way that does not require constant requests to you for a glass of water.
- Peppermint tea – Ginger tea is good, too. These teas help relieve the nausea that often comes with a migraine attack.
- Dramamine – Most migraineurs have their own medicines, but in a pinch, Dramamine will help reduce the symptoms of nausea and vomiting.
- Aleve – This is a strong OTC NSAID which can sometimes abort a migraine attack.
- Excedrin – Even if it doesn’t say “migraine” it may help. This combination of aspirin, acetaminophen, and caffeine had a documented history of helping milder attacks.
- Benadryl – Doctors often recommend migraineurs add this medicine to their prescription medicines when trying to stop a migraine attack. It seems to make the other medicines work more efficiently.
- Ginger ale – Sprite, 7-Up, Sierra Mist or any carbonated citrus drink can help ease a queasy stomach.
You may not be able to prevent your guest from experiencing an attack, but your thoughtfulness will be greatly appreciated. Show your guests that you are “Migraine Aware” by offering tools to help them cope.
p.s. These items also make great gifts for the migraineur in your life!