Migraine is a disorder, complex in nature, composed of frequent episodes of unilateral headaches. In some instances, it is characterized by sensory and visual symptoms termed as an aura. Aura arises before the head pains but could also occur during or after the migraine. The cause of a migraine is not known; however, it is thought to be genetically determined with the females being prone to frequent attacks. Other symptoms of migraines include nausea and vomiting.
The following are factors that may precipitate a migraine attack
1. Cigarette smoke
Nicotine, a component of tobacco, causes the narrowing of human blood vessels. This reduces the amount of blood that flows to the brain. Also, it is believed that higher levels of carbon monoxide in the serum and brain, obtained through the consumption of the products of tobacco may cause migraine. The smell given off during smoking may cause allergic reactions that lead to a migraine on some people
The human nose contains many receptors. Some travel through the same path to the nervous system. Commercial fragrances have lots of chemicals in them. It’s believed that these odors cause vasoconstriction of the brain’s blood vessels leading to migraines. Olfactory irritants, transmitted by the olfactory nerves, have negative impacts such as perfume headache
3. Cleaning chemicals
Examples of chemicals that have foul odors are volatile organic compounds. They are gases released into the atmosphere during use. They are available in combinations such as ammonia, propylene glycol, bleach, disinfectants, aerosols, and pesticides. Volatile organic compounds irritate mucous membranes in the throats and eyes causing migraines. Some patients suffering from migraines are at risk of allergic reactions. Hence the strong odor from these chemicals stimulate the inflammatory process as well as initiating allergic symptoms
4. Air fresheners
It is believed that these scented compounds release harmful substances that pollute the air, are cancerous, and are more dangerous when combining with ozone. These odors predispose one to migraine
Most candles are made from a blend of paraffin waxes, petroleum products, and soy. Paraffin-based candles tend to emit harmful fumes. The migraines experienced from the burn of candles originate from the combustion of the petroleum component of the candle and the fragrance’s quality
Migraine management can be either abortive or prophylactic. For prophylaxis, avoid the risk factors such as vasodilators, foods such as red wine which contain tyramine, food additives, avoid stress, and have a night of adequate sleep. Abortive management of migraines depends on the seriousness of the attack.