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Headaches & Migraines Healthy Living Lifestyle

Migraine Proof Your Home

Just a few simple changes can migraine proof your home–and make it a refuge if one does strike.

In your bedroom:

Hang thick curtains. Your bedroom can be an ideal migraine retreat. Thick or black-out curtains will keep the room dark and cool, and can even help dampen outside sounds.

Consider a humidifier or dehumidifier. Aim for a continuous 35 percent to 50 percent humidity inside. That means a humidifier in winter and a dehumidifier in summer. A normal humidity level has been shown to reduce the likelihood of getting sick.

Get an air purifier. Dust and dander can be a migraine trigger for some. Find a free-standing air purifier for as little as $40 in home improvement stores. Change the filter in your furnace, too, and have your vents and ducts cleaned professionally once every three to five years.

In the kitchen:

Turn off the light in your fridge. You still need to eat when you have a migraine. But the fridge light can make the pain worse. Remove the lightbulb and keep a small flashlight handy. The smaller light beam will help you find food without triggering migraine pain.

Stop drawers from slamming. Any noise can send a bolt of pain through your head when you have a migraine. Buy rubber drawer stoppers (or make your own by cutting up pencil erasers) at a hardware store. Attach them to the inside of drawers of cabinet doors to muffle the noise made when they close.

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Buy fragrance-free cleaning products. Scented products are a huge migraine trigger for some folks. Look for products labeled fragrance free or perfume free. Steer clear of ones that say “all natural” because they still might have scents that can wreak havoc. Also: Avoid scented body products, air fresheners, scented detergents and candles.

In the rest of the house:

Decorate carefully. Paints and carpets that contain volatile organic compounds can start or worsen a migraine. The compounds get released into the air over time and can lead to irritation and inflammation in your body. Look for VOC-free paints (Benjamin Moore Natura or Low & Zero) and find green label rated carpets.

Change lightbulbs. Low-watt incandescent bulbs produce a warm, steady stream of light that’s less likely to kick-start a migraine than the bright, flickering caused by halogen or fluorescent bulbs.

Seal windows and doors. A sudden shift in temperature—like the kind caused by a drafty window—can spark a migraine. Close drafts (think caulk, draft guards and insulation) to keep the temperature steady. Bonus: You’ll lower your heating and cooling bills.

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