Anyone who suffers with migraines, like I do, knows that certain “triggers” can set off a migraine episode. My list of migraine triggers is well-known to my close family and friends, so they can all help me avoid being exposed to anything that will make my head hurt by triggering a migraine.

One specific migraine trigger that I have become aware of is excessive heat.


When I am overheated, like I have been in the past few weeks, I experience migraine episodes and migraine dizziness more frequently. 

In general, I try to remain cool by staying out of the direct sunlight – either indoors with air conditioning, under an umbrella at the beach or wearing a hat for outdoor activities.

Even for people who do not suffer with migraines, summer heat can cause dehydration which may lead to dizziness, especially when they stand up.


Drinking alcohol when it is hot out can make dehydration worse.

In addition to carrying a water bottle around with me all day, I have learned three specific strategies to keep cool and stay hydrated during summer heat that I will share with you in this blog.

First, my former neurologist, Dr. Kulreet Chaudhary, M.D. prescribed for me to drink one coconut water per day to keep my electrolyte levels balanced, especially while I am sweating most of the day due to the summer heat.

I like drinking the coconut water to keep myself cool and well-hydrated.


The coconut water prescription is appropriate for my Ayurvedic constitution called Pitta, or full of fire, during the summer heat and may not be appropriate for everyone who suffers with migraines.

Second, my former Doctor of Traditional Chinese medicine, has prescribed me to eat a slice of watermelon twice a day to keep cool during summer heat. She said “I can either prescribe you the Chinese herbs containing watermelon or you can just eat watermelon twice a day.”

I love watermelon, so I have been enjoying one slice in the morning and one slice in the evening during the peak heat of the summer, along with a cup of coconut water once a day.

However, I try not to eat too much sugar, because consuming too much sugar can trigger feelings of nervousness and worry in me – exacerbates my anxiety level and can cause weight gain.

For people with diabetes, eating too much or too little sugar can also cause dizziness.

Drinking coconut water and eating watermelon help me a lot but they both have a lot of sugar so I have to limit the amount I consume. And I still need more hydration when I am sweating all day in the summer heat.

Finally, I was fortunate to work with a Pure Foods Nutrition Coach, Cornelia Vlaicu, a few years ago in San Francisco.

Cornelia showed me how to make drinking water into a delicious treat! She taught me to fill a pitcher or glass with fresh spring water or filtered water, and then add thin slices of fruit or other herbs to give it some flavor.

Here is a list that I made of all the delicious ways I now enjoy my water, to keep myself hydrated and prevent a migraine episode when the summer heat is on:
1. Lemon
2. Lemon cucumber
3. Strawberry
4. Strawberry mint
5. Orange slices
6. Mint
7. Lemon mint
8. Lime mint
9. Cucumber
10. Lemon lime
11. Cinnamon sticks and sliced apples

I hope you enjoyed my sharing of three strategies I use to minimize migraine episodes and reduce migraine dizziness during summer heat. Stay cool, stay hydrated and enjoy the summertime!


This blog is provided for informational purposes only. The content and any comments by Dr. Kim Bell, DPT are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The details of any case mentioned in this post represent a typical patient that Dr. Bell might see and do not describe the circumstances of a specific individual.

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