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Old 05-18-2010, 04:59 PM
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I get a headache from being out in the sun - is there any solution to this?

I love to garden and work outside, but for some unknown reason, I get a headache when I come in from working in the sun. I wear a sunhat and sunglasses, and have dark-coloured eyes, but it doesn't seem to make a difference. Am I missing something? Is there any way to avoid the splitting headache after being in the sun? Or should I just take Tylenol as soon as I come in from working outside and accept it as just the way it is?
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Old 05-18-2010, 05:04 PM
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And here I was thinking I'd be able to help, because I get headaches in the sun too. But for me, the solution was hats, so no.

Are you wearing hats that cover your whole head, or those hatless brim things? Because for me, the problem is sunlight coupled with the heat on my dark hair.

Can't offer more than sympathy I'm afraid.
Old 05-18-2010, 05:05 PM
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Do you drink water while you're outside working? Even if you aren't engaged in 'strenuous activity', you could still be getting dehydrated. That gives me a headache...

In any case, I'm pretty sure "accept it as just the way it is" is not the best way to deal with the situation.
Old 05-18-2010, 05:08 PM
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Yeah, my hat covers my whole head - it's sort of a Tilley hat idea. I do drink water, but maybe not enough.
Old 05-18-2010, 05:25 PM
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http://google.com/headaches+dehydration+sunlight

Last edited by Yeticus Rex; 05-18-2010 at 05:26 PM.
Old 05-18-2010, 09:11 PM
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Is it just the sunlight? I've had chronic headaches since I was in the first grade, brought on by being overheated - sunlight, exercise, etc. The only thing I've ever found that works is Excedrin, and that only sometimes.
Old 05-18-2010, 09:21 PM
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I've always had this problem too, ever since I was little. Anytime I do any strenuous activity out in the sun my head would end up pounding. Drinking more water does seem to help.
Old 05-18-2010, 11:09 PM
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I have the same problem, and drinking a lot of water seems to help.

The headache I get is incurable by aspirin, Tylenol or even prescription pain killers. It can make me nauseated. I have to lay down in a dark silent room for a few hours and it goes away. It's not unlike a migraine.

Drinking water after the fact doesn't seem to do anything to relieve the pain. I seem to be able to prevent it by drinking a lot of water while I'm spending time in the sun.
Old 05-18-2010, 11:24 PM
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Try wearing long sleeves and pants as well.

I have a friend with a sun allergy. She gets headaches too (plus some other symptoms), but less so if she really covers up. You might try that and see if it helps.
Old 05-18-2010, 11:48 PM
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Do you take any blood pressure medication? Some meds make you photo-sensitive, but doctors don't always remember to tell you that.
Old 05-19-2010, 12:03 AM
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Have you tried an opaque sun umbrella that shades your whole body?

I get a headache from being out in the sun too. So I try not to do it.

I am not even close to a doctor, but my theory is that it's sort of related to sun poisoning. It can't just be heat-related because then I'd get a headache from sitting in a hot house. I'm thinking that it must be related to the sun hitting my skin (even through my clothes) and causing inflammation that I may not be able to feel on my skin, but cumulatively affects my body.

Maybe sunscreen might help too. Or those clothes that don't let as much of the ultraviolet rays on your skin.
Old 05-19-2010, 04:12 AM
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Are your sunglasses polarized? My mom gets awful sun headaches if she wears non-polarized sunglasses, because it seems for her that reducing glaring light with dark lenses doesn't block enough of it to not cause eyestrain.
Old 05-19-2010, 06:29 AM
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I have sensitive eyes and without a super dark pair of glasses I still squint some on a bright day. Light leaking from the sides will also give me headaches. Try sunglasses that are very dark and wrap around. Polarizing them will probably help a lot too as they are aligned to cut the reflected light from water and vehicles.
Old 05-19-2010, 10:12 AM
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Is it a 'migraine'-type headache, or more of a tension/muscular headache? I sometimes get a slight headache and stiff neck when I do a lot of work involving looking and/or bending down (such as gardening, which I do a LOT of).

Do you by chance have a very stiff neck/shoulders or similar type symptoms when you have the headache(s)? Just a long-shot guess is all..but it does happen to folks. It helps me to stretch and/or roll my head/neck through range-of-motion periodically (and the snap, crackle, pop of it) now and then to keep from getting such a 'headache' - ymmv.

If its the Sun itself causing the HA, then... never mind
Old 05-19-2010, 10:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leiko View Post
Are your sunglasses polarized? My mom gets awful sun headaches if she wears non-polarized sunglasses, because it seems for her that reducing glaring light with dark lenses doesn't block enough of it to not cause eyestrain.
My wife gets headaches in the sun...and sunglasses didn't help.

However, I tried a super-dooper $160 pair for her (not sure what it was but bought at one of those outdoorsy stores) and she was amazed. She could be out a long time and no headache.

Last edited by BlinkingDuck; 05-19-2010 at 10:17 AM.
Old 05-19-2010, 05:06 PM
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I am allergic to the sun - my symptoms usually start with a headache, followed by nausea, then an itchy, painful rash. I get these symptoms even if there is no sunburn, and even after a brief period of time in the sun. I've learned them well enough that, if I am in the sun and get the slightest bit of a headache, I find someplace dark and quiet and rest a while. The only way I have found to really combat it is to wear clothes that cover the majority of my skin whenever possible, and when not, to use strong sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher - I use the stuff they make for babies). Even then, if its hot and I sweat off the sunscreen, I can get sick. Still, the awareness of the problem and the use of sunblock for even minor forays into the sun keep me going.
Old 05-19-2010, 05:13 PM
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I think I just found the SDMB's vampire population.

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Old 05-19-2010, 05:25 PM
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The solution is simple garden at night. That way instead of a headache from the sun you'll only get a buttache from the moon.
Old 05-19-2010, 05:29 PM
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I have a similar problem Cat_Whisperer - you need a much wider brimmed had (I wear one like this: Hat) that covers the back of your neck completely, and you need to drink more fluids and take more breaks.

It's very dry here - you can get really over heated and not even notice because the dryness wicks the sweat away before you even notice it's there.
Old 05-19-2010, 06:01 PM
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I find I get headaches outside often during the changing seasons due to dehydration as many have said above. I think my body is not used to drinking as much as it needs in the summer and then in teh fall/winter, I am not nearly as thirsty so I end up not drinking enough then either.
Old 05-19-2010, 06:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlinkingDuck View Post
My wife gets headaches in the sun...and sunglasses didn't help.

However, I tried a super-dooper $160 pair for her (not sure what it was but bought at one of those outdoorsy stores) and she was amazed. She could be out a long time and no headache.
I think with sunglasses, it's less about high price than how they're constucted. You want something that sits tight to the face (without being so tight it hurts), has fully opaque frames, and polarized lenses. My actual glasses darken for sunlight, but they don't sit close to my face, so on really sunny days I switch to contact lenses plus sunglasses.
Old 05-19-2010, 06:15 PM
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Take breaks? But...I'm gardening!

I don't sweat much, so I think I am really underestimating how much water I need to drink while working.

So, bigger hat, better sunglasses, more water, more breaks - I can do that. Thanks, everyone.
Old 05-19-2010, 06:21 PM
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While I suspect it's not what she's going for, Paris Hilton's outfit here is probably a good gardening choice.
Old 05-20-2010, 10:31 PM
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I'm gonna jump on board with the "water, water and more water" folks. Drinking lots of water BEFORE the onset of the headache should prevent it altogether. The first time I went to Key West, I barely drank any and got a terrible migraine afterward. The next time I went, I made sure to drink water while we were out walking, and by the end of the day I was fine.
Old 05-21-2010, 12:33 AM
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Polarized sunglasses. Ones with very wide temples (to block extra light). The bigger the better.

Sunglasses that say UVA/UVB, don't bother. It's just a coating, and nearly all sunglasses (and regular glasses) have it anyway. If you're prone to outdoor headaches, try out the polarized - the lenses have a filter that cuts out glare. Makes things much easier on the eyes. Less eyestrain, less headache.

Grey, dark grey, black polarized lenses - good for driving and general use (doesn't distort color vision)

Brown and amber polarized lenses - good for golf and other outdoor sports (improves depth perception a bit)
Old 05-21-2010, 12:55 AM
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Don't use the sunglasses when you are working outside.
Old 05-21-2010, 08:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonh300 View Post
I have the same problem, and drinking a lot of water seems to help.

The headache I get is incurable by aspirin, Tylenol or even prescription pain killers. It can make me nauseated. I have to lay down in a dark silent room for a few hours and it goes away. It's not unlike a migraine.

Drinking water after the fact doesn't seem to do anything to relieve the pain. I seem to be able to prevent it by drinking a lot of water while I'm spending time in the sun.
You may very well have a sinus headache from allergies triggered by working outdoors. No amount of OTC pain killer is going to help a sinus headache because the passages have swelled shut and are filling with fluid. It is necessary to get the passages to drain to relieve the pain.

It took many years for me to recognize a sinus headache. What I discovered is that they trigger tension headaches in the back of my neck. If this goes unchecked I get a migraine headache. The result is a very painful headache that will not go away for many hours.

At the first sign of such a headache I take sudafed and ibuprofen with a caffeine drink and I also use nose spray depending on the severity. Note: all these things raise your blood pressure.
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