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Can smoke give you a headache: How to Deal With Headaches From Fire Smoke

How to Deal With Headaches From Fire Smoke

Wildfires have become an increasingly common year-round problem in the U.S., especially in the western states. They not only damage landscapes and manmade structures, but can also lead to a host of health problems, particularly respiratory issues and cardiovascular problems. Exposure to wildfire smoke can also cause headaches. The reason for this is complicated, but it does not mean we cannot take steps to avoid headaches from fire smoke. Let us dive into what smoke does to your body and your head specifically so you can be better prepared to prevent the pain and discomfort.

What, exactly, is wildfire smoke?

Wildfire smoke consists of countless tiny particles, each one with a different size and made up of a different mix of partially burned solids and liquids. The energy from the fire that turned a tree or a house into smoke also leaves behind free radicals and other reactive, and therefore toxic, chemical substances on the surface of smoke particles. Due to their small size, these particles are small enough to get into your lungs and pass into your bloodstream. From there they are pumped to the heart and sent throughout the body, which, in turn, can cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms, including headaches.

Headaches explained

Your head contains a complex system of organs, bone, cartilage, nerves, blood vessels and tissue, making it one of the most sensitive areas of the body. Unfortunately, one of the most prominent sensations we feel in this area is the dreaded headache. We have all experienced at least one kind of head pain, and may have been told that we suffer from tension headaches, migraines, cluster headaches, stabbing headaches, sinus headaches, or one of the many other names that doctors use to help characterize such symptoms. Headaches are often temporary and no cause for alarm, but they can also become chronic and possible indicators of a serious health problem — in which case you should consult with a doctor. If you have the sudden onset of a serious headache, it is also advisable to seek medical attention.

It is difficult to narrow down the cause of any one headache, but the medical community agrees that the physiology of headaches involves how the blood flowing into your head interacts with pain-sensing nerves and brain activity. Chronic headaches like migraines have always had an elusive exact mechanism so most of the research is focused on the indirect causes, such asstress, poor diet or fatigue.

Smoke increases blood pressure

One of the many effects of exposure to smoke from any source ishigher blood pressure. Extended exposure can result in hypertension, which is chronic high blood pressure, and in turn lead to headaches. These symptoms are caused by particles not just from smoke but also car exhaust, power plants, or any other place where organic matter is burning.

The composition of the smoke influences how it affects your body. Cigarette smoke, for example, can cause headaches in some, but this is likely a result of nicotine in addition to the particles. Not only does nicotine impact blood flow and pain nerves,but it can also decrease the efficacy of pain medication like Tylenol and Aleve. This is an unfortunate conundrum becausepeople who have chronic headaches are more likely to smoke cigarettes. Quitting can be a challenge for those who suffer with migraines, as well. If headaches during wildfires are a problem, it might help to take any extra steps to avoid exposure to cigarette smoke in the meantime.

While smoke can dysregulate almost any system in your body, some types of headaches are more associated with smoke than others. For instance,migraines are more likely to be triggered by smoke than tension headaches. Your cells are very sensitive to small chemicals they use to communicate internally and with the rest of your body. When reactive smoke particles are floating around in the blood, they are likely to interrupt this delicate interplay. Exposure to air pollution (including smoke) is also linked toall sorts of neurological diseases likedementia and multiple sclerosis in addition to diseases of the internal organs likediabetes.

How to deal with a headache

If you have chronic headaches you should talk to your doctor to get a diagnosis if appropriate. Some headaches may be the result of tumors, strokes, or other injuries and need professional medication attention. But when the headaches are the only problem, there are a handful of ways to help your blood, brain and nerves better regulate themselves.

Reduce smoke exposure: Before trying medication or anything else, remember the physical particles of smoke cause or exacerbate headaches,so just avoiding them can be effective. During a wildfire event, it is best to leave the area if possible. If not, choose one room in the house as the clean room, the bedroom is best since it is where you will spend the night. Seal any windows and keep the door closed as much as possible. If you have an air purifier, put it in your clean room.

Over the Counter Medication: Non-prescription headache medication is the first line of defense for most people with a headache. There are two primary types — acetaminophen, commonly known as Tylenol, and NSAIDs, which are a class of drugs that are typically labeled ibuprofen, aspirin, Motrin, Aleve, Advil, among other names. Tylenol is thought to work on the pain nerves in the head, and has few side-effects so is relatively safer and can be given to children. NSAIDs are any one of a number of drugs that reduce inflammatory chemicals that trigger pain nerves throughout the body. They can cause kidney or liver problems over time andshould not be taken for longer than 10 days without talking to a doctor. Both Tylenol and NSAIDs can make existing kidney or liver problems worse and can have negative interactions with alcohol.

Hydration: Some headaches are exacerbated ordirectly caused by dehydration, so keeping hydrated is always a good plan. This includes avoiding diuretics like coffee and alcohol that may deplete your internal stores of water, and making sure to drink a lot if you are sweating.

Caffeine: This solution should be used with caution. Caffeine in coffee or teachanges the blood flow in your head, which can help to reduce headaches. However, your body can become dependent on caffeine very easily with daily use and will rely on it to regulate blood flow. When caffeine is not available your body can take a day or two to start regulating the blood flow in your brain again, and in the meantime it will not flow as well as when your body is in its natural state, leading to worse headaches in addition to drowsiness and being less alert.

Relaxation: Meditation, deep breathing, and other relaxation techniques can help regulate the nervous system and are effective for avoiding many types of headaches includingtension headaches andmigraines. While almost anything that relaxes can be effective, alternative techniques likeacupuncture may not be as good as pure relaxation.

Alternative methods: There are several herbs and supplements that haveat least some promise in helping with headaches. Riboflavin, coenzyme Q10 and magnesium supplements along with butterbur and feverfew have been studied and shown to have a potential impact on migraines.

If you have chronic headaches and want to avoid them getting worse next time there is a wildfire, there are a few other ways to prepare. Talk to your doctor about any prescription medications that might be appropriate, and ask them about biofeedback. Biofeedback is a relatively new pain management treatment that involves attaching electrodes to the headache sufferer to measure stress and pain nerve activity. The patient then watches their own responses on a monitor and uses a relaxation technique to attempt to calm their stress and alleviate their headache.It is unclear why this is effective, butdoctors have been finding some success in using it to treat pain.

Headaches usually result from some type of dysregulation of a body system, sostaying fit can help reduce migraines.Maintaining a good diet that is low in inflammatory foods like gluten may also be effective, as can low-carb diets with a low glycemic index like Atkins and keto.

At Molekule we want everyone to breathe clean air and to be prepared when the air is not clean. Keep an eye on this blog or our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts for more information on how to do that.

Can Wildfire Smoke Cause Headaches? What to Know

U.S.|Why Wildfire Smoke Might Lead to Headaches



Continue reading the main story

If you’re in pain, here’s how to mitigate it.

If you need to go outside, you may want to wear a tightfitting mask, like an N95, says Dr. Raj Fadadu of University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine.Credit…Gregg Vigliotti for The New York Times

Breathing in wildfire smoke can cause a headache right away, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and short-term exposure to particulate matter from wildfires has been linked to an increase in emergency room visits for headaches.

Researchers are not entirely sure why wildfire smoke causes headaches, but one reason may be that it can alter the sensitivity of certain neurons, which in turn can increase the risk of headaches, said Dr. Raj Fadadu, a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine who has studied the health effects of wildfire smoke.

Wildfire smoke can lead to lower oxygen levels if you have an underlying lung condition like asthma, which can contribute to a headache, said Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos, a pulmonary and critical care medicine physician at Johns Hopkins Medicine. Inhaling wildfire smoke can also lead to inflammation, which can itself induce headaches.

If you are outside in an area with poor air quality and you feel a headache coming on, that’s most likely a sign you should head indoors, said Dr. Fadadu. To ward off headaches — and any other effect from smoke — restrict the amount of time you spend outdoors, he said, and try to optimize the quality of your indoor air. If you have access to an air purifier, like one with a HEPA filter, that can help. You should also steer clear of smoking or vaping.

If you do need to go outside, consider wearing a tightfitting mask, like an N95. While wearing a mask indoors is not typically recommended to reduce smoke exposure, if you believe you are encountering poor air quality, putting on a mask may lower your risk of inhaling polluted air, and therefore could help address headache symptoms, Dr. Fadadu said.

The most effective treatment for headaches can vary from person to person, but over-the-counter medications like Tylenol or Advil can help. Staying hydrated is also critical, Dr. Fadadu said. If you can, try to avoid looking at screens while your headache persists; at the least, consider reducing the brightness of your screen, which can ease the strain on your eyes. If your headache is not responding to treatments at home, or is becoming more intense, you may want to go to an urgent care center or emergency department, he added. A physician may prescribe stronger medications to better manage the pain.

If you have underlying pulmonary issues and you are experiencing a headache after exposure to wildfire smoke, consider testing your oxygen levels and contacting your doctor, Dr. Galiatsatos said.

There’s another possible reason for your wildfire-smoke headache: stress. A growing body of research shows that environmental disturbances take a toll on mental health, and stress can contribute to tension headaches, which are mild, throbbing headaches typically felt on both sides of the head.

The anxiety that people may feel looking at the orange-tinged haze, or assessing whether to put on a mask before leaving their homes, might itself contribute to headaches — particularly on the East Coast, where people are not used to grappling with the tangible impact of wildfire smoke, Dr. Fadadu said.

“That ecological stress that we’re seeing with wildfires is, for sure, a real phenomenon that a lot of people are experiencing,” Dr. Fadadu said.

Why your head hurts: unexpected reasons

  • Delfi
  • org/ListItem”> Entertainment
  • Intimacy and Health

October 15, 2013 5:20 pm


PHOTO: fotolia.com

If you have your head suddenly starts to hurt, the reasons may be the most unexpected, writes zdorovieinfo.ru.

Cause: smoking

Smoking causes headache. And not only for the person who smokes, but also for those people who are next to him. Inhalation of nicotine leads to constriction of the blood vessels of the brain, which provokes a severe headache. Quitting smoking and/or avoiding secondhand smoke is very helpful for people with cluster headaches. This is a very painful one-sided headache that can hurt the eye and nose.

Cause: caffeine

Caffeine is good in moderation and is even found in some headache medications. However, frequent drinking of coffee can lead to headaches. But completely giving up coffee is also not recommended, since the abrupt cessation of caffeine intake also provokes a headache.

Cause: Cheese

Aged cheese, including blue cheese, cheddar, parmesan, and Swiss cheese, can trigger a migraine attack in some people. A substance called tyramine is to blame for everything. The longer the cheese ripens, the more tyramine it contains.

Reason: red wine

Tyramine is also found in red wine and other alcoholic beverages. In addition, alcohol can cause dehydration, which causes headaches. If you cannot refuse red wine, consult your doctor, he may prescribe you a drug for prevention.

Cause: sausage

There are 2 arguments against eating sausages: they contain tyramine and nitrites, which cause headaches in some people. Supplement-induced headaches tend to affect the entire head (unlike migraines, which only affect one side of the head).

Reason: hunger

If you skip a meal, you may get a headache before you feel hungry. The reason is a decrease in blood glucose levels. However, the candy will not help you, because the rise in blood sugar will be short-lived, you need a full meal.

Solution: Calculate the cause

If you know what triggers your headache, you can prevent it. Start keeping a diary of headaches and mark meals, stressful situations, weather changes, physical activity in it. Record the time of onset and end time of the headache. This way you will figure out your cause and be able to get rid of it

Solution: deal with stress

Unfortunately, we cannot avoid stressful situations, but we can control our emotions. Coping with stress through your own strategies or massage will help you get rid of the headache.

Solution: stretch your legs

Moderate physical activity is an excellent “cure” for stress. In particular, walking protects against headaches and tension. Waving your arms as you walk relaxes the muscles in your neck and shoulders. This will help against tension headaches.

The solution: eat regularly

Eating a balanced diet throughout the day at regular intervals will help to avoid sudden fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Try to eat proteins with complex carbohydrates, such as chicken and brown rice. Remember to drink enough water – dehydration also causes headaches. You need 2-3 liters of water per day.

Solution: Medications

There are now a wide range of headache medications: acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen. Such medicines should be taken as soon as you feel a headache. But don’t overuse them. This can lead to persistent headaches. If you experience frequent severe headaches, see your doctor.

When to see a doctor

If the headache is very severe or lasts more than two days, you should consult a doctor and describe your feelings in detail. Call an ambulance if your headache is accompanied by blurred vision or movement, confusion, convulsions, fever, or increased tone in the neck.

Our telegram channel Delfi Lithuania is your prompt and informative guide around the country.



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Headaches from smoking or how to help smokers with migraine





Do you get headaches from smoking?

The occurrence of headaches is associated with many causes, often overlooking one of the main ones, that smoking can contribute to the onset of migraines. A recent study proves that smokers who reduced their tobacco use by exactly half found that they had half the headaches from smoking.

Smoking can cause a variety of health problems and headaches are one of them. Studies show that smokers are twice as likely to develop headaches, especially during adolescence.

Possible Causes

Cigarette smoke can cause severe headaches in both smokers and non-smokers. There are several reasons why smoking causes headaches.

Nicotine, one of the components of tobacco, stimulates the blood vessels in the brain and causes them to constrict and cause small spasms that lead to headaches.

Smoking also stimulates the nerves at the back of the throat, which causes severe headaches.

Cigarettes can be an allergen, and one of the consequences of an allergy is a headache.

Smoking reduces the concentration of oxygen in the blood and increases the concentration of carboxyhemoglobin in the blood. Accordingly, it hurts and dizzy often from insufficient nutrition and blood supply to the brain.

Smoking reduces the effectiveness of many, if not all, headache treatments.

Cigarette smoke can cause severe headaches in sensitive and susceptible persons.

What happens in the body?

Nicotine, one of the components of tobacco, causes vasoconstriction – narrowing of blood vessels, which leads to a decrease in blood supply to the brain and meninges. As soon as the vessels narrow, they receive a signal from the center of the medulla oblongata about the need to contract the walls of the vessels. This leads to a sharp increase in pressure and causes a headache.

Reduced blood flow also leads to a decrease in the amount of oxygen and nutrients in neurons. This negatively affects the activity of the brain and causes a headache. In addition, a decrease in the volume of blood supplying the meninges can cause severe migraines.

Carbon monoxide formed as a result of smoking binds to red blood cells, gradually replacing hemoglobin with carboxyhemoglobin – a strong compound of hemoglobin with carbon monoxide, which leads to the development of oxygen starvation – hypoxia. If you have frequent dizziness and severe headaches, smoking and the negative effects of carbon monoxide on your body may be the main cause of this condition.

Nicotine can also cause headaches by acting on the sensory nerves that run through the back of the throat. As a result, intoxication of the central nervous system and disruption of the normal functioning of the nervous system, and in the future – the risk of tumors, strokes and other serious pathologies.

How to deal with it?

What should I do if I have a headache? First of all, give up the bad habit of smoking. This condition is basic if you notice that you are getting headaches from cigarettes more often.

Walking in the fresh air will restore the normal blood supply to the brain, as well as increase the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the blood and meninges.

Make it a rule to visit a therapist regularly and undergo comprehensive examinations. Pay attention to your diet. Avoid tea, coffee, and other caffeinated drinks. Refrain from alcohol. Relax more, enjoy life and finally say “No!” stress and depression. And then you will forget about migraines for a long time.

Then go through a smoking cessation plan.

It will make quitting much easier.