Health Magazine March 2012

How to Headache-Proof Your Home

Health Magazine March 2012Headaches often hit when we least expect them, but Health magazine suggests a few tips for making your home a headache-free zone.

I love the sunshine. I was sitting in the airport just yesterday with my face toward the windows, not a cloud in the sky, enjoying the warmth of the sun on my skin. About two minutes into relaxing in the glow, though, a terrible headache came out of nowhere.

I packed up my diet soda and my magazines, and I moved to the other side of the gate, out of the brightness of the sunshine and out of my headache. I don’t know why it affected me so quickly, but it made me realize that extremely bright lights and sunshine might not be the best idea when I’m trying to relax and read.

It sounds like the editors at Health magazine agree. In the March issue, they list several ways to headache-proof your home, including turning down the lights. They say that a soft glow is much less likely to make your head feel like it’s been hit by a truck. If you’re reading in that soft glow, they suggest getting tinted lenses on your glasses, which can help reduce glare and subsequently reduce headaches.

Other tips for keeping future headaches at bay:

  • Vacuum upholstered furniture once a week to free your home of allergens. What? Aren’t we all vacuuming our furniture once a week already? I’m sure my husband wishes I would.
  • Get rid of strong odors in your home, including that cupcake-scented candle. Masking bad odors with delicious ones can sometimes make the combined odors worse, and unfortunately some candles contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) — the same ones found in paint and floor varnish — that can really trigger a headache.
  • Watch what you eat and drink. The artificial sweeteners in my favorite diet soda and the MSG in some packaged foods can quickly trigger head pain as well.

When my headache hit in the airport, I got a cold bottle of water and a couple of painkillers from the bookstore in the terminal. My headache didn’t last long, but I do kind of miss that comfy spot I was occupying in the sun.