Migraines happen when there is a throbbing pain and a pulsing sensation that is usually on one side of the head. A migraine can last for many hours or days, and it may become so painful that it interferes with normal daily activities. While there are doctor-prescribed and over-the-counter medications that can help prevent the onset of a migraine, or and make them less painful, it’s important for patients to keep track of their migraine attacks and what triggers them in order to avoid these causes in the future.
For instance, certain odors can play a big role in migraine onset, as well as the duration and occurrence of the pain that accompanies a migraine. Osmophobia occurs when a patient experiences a heightened sense of smell that can lead to a migraine. Here are some uncommon smells that may trigger a migraine:
1. Exhaust from cars
Car exhausts give off a strong smell and sometimes the smell can become overbearing from some vehicles.
2. Food odors
Although some foods smell delicious, there are just some that can trigger a migraine headache. These types of food can include aged cheese, salty, and processed foods. Also pay particular attention to strong, pungent smells from certain spices as well as onions and garlic, particularly when chopping these common cooking ingredients.
3. Smoke from campfires
Campfires have some pretty strong chemicals depending on how it’s created and the fuel source (i.e., treated wood). Smoke from fires can be a quick trigger to the start of a migraine headache. In addition, smoke from cigarettes, pipes, cigars, and vape pens can also cause a migraine.
4. Gas pump fumes
It’s pretty obvious that gas pumps have a strong smell but it also can cause you to have a pretty painful migraine.
5. Chemicals at nail salons
Strong chemical smells from fingernail polish, polish remover, and cleaning supplies at your local nail salon or spa will often irritate migraine patients and trigger the onset of a migraine.
The best defense against osmophobia and the onset of a migraine is to avoid these trigger odors as much as possible. If it’s unavoidable, carry a small bottle or vial of pure lavender or peppermint essential oil in your purse. Both of these natural smells have been linked to reducing migraine and headache pain