When You're Away from Home
Migraines don't always happen at home, so it's important to have some strategies for adjusting your surroundings when crawling into bed isn't an option. By changing lighting, filtering outside noise, and having comfort measures close at hand, you can tackle a migraine wherever you are. When the first signs of migraine appear and you're far from home, preparation can make all the difference.
Children and adolescents who suffer from migraine should have a safe recovery place at school. Talk to the school nurse about what's available should the need arise, and how an existing space may be modified (e.g., lighting changed) to accommodate your child if necessary, and make sure that the appropriate medication and parental permission releases are in the school's hands. Find more information on dealing with migraines at school.
Recovery at Work
If migraine strikes in the workplace, and leaving is not an option, there are steps you can take to increase your comfort level. When possible, turn off any overhead fluorescent lighting. Since this is not an option in open office areas, retail environments, and other workspaces, carry an extra pair of comfortable sunglasses with you (a well-fitting pair that doesn't pinch the nose or ears).
If there is an office lounge or other place where you can rest until your pain relievers start to kick in, take advantage of it. When a quiet space is not available, consider resting in the back seat of your car with an eye mask on until your migraine medication takes effect.
Put together one or more migraine kits and keep one at the office, in your car, and anywhere else you spend a lot of time. Fill a tote bag with extra medications and other supplies to create a more comfortable atmosphere and minimize discomfort. These may include an eye mask, earplugs or a portable noise-conditioning unit, sunglasses, scarves to drape over lamps to diffuse light, a chemical cold pack or ice patch, and a small pillow.
When you travel, keep these essentials close at hand as well. Because altitude can act as a migraine trigger in some people, this is especially important with long-distance air travel. Keep in mind that Transportation Security Administration (TSA) restrictions in airports may require some adjustments to your migraine kit. Make sure any fluids you carry, including gels or creams, are in TSA-acceptable amounts.
If you have injectable migraine medication or pressurized inhalers, carrying the original prescription packaging and/or a note from your physician may prove helpful in expediting your trip through airport security. TSA regulations change over time, so check with the airport and your airline the day before you travel to make sure you're in compliance with current security guidelines.