Headache From Heater | Prevention

Dr. Terry Hobson MD
Dr. Terry Hobson is a Neurosurgeon and consultant. He is one of the best in this specialty. He is renowned for his expertise in stroke management and emergency operation. Dr. Terry Hobson is working with Learnfromdoctor as a senior Neurogeon and Consultant.

What is Headache From Heater?

Headache from heater is common during the winter. Some people wake up in the morning with a headache due to the heater. 

The heater may cause sinus congestion, asthma, and associated headaches when you start it for the first time during winter. That is because the dirty filter of the heater may contain dust, pollens, and certain allergens.

The heater filter should be cleaned before starting it for the first time. After that, checking the heater once a week or at a suitable interval is a good habit. 

The heater also reduces the room’s humidity and produces dry skin, conjunctivitis, and other symptoms. Using a humidifier along with a heater can be an option.  

Heat itself can cause headaches, whether it’s environmental or provided by your heater. 

How the headache occurs by a heater, what factors trigger it, and how it can be relieved are all covered in this article. 

Read Headache Chart

What is Heat-Induced Migraine?

Heat-induced migraine is preexisted migraine only triggered by heat. Migraine is a common symptom nowadays, and many of the population are suffering from it. 

Migraine can be triggered by many factors such as;

  • Noise
  • Light
  • Heat
  • Certain foods
  • Stress
  • Alcohol
  • Lack of sleep
  • Medication overuse

Heat-induced migraine is different from the headache induced by the heater. 

Read Hunger and Thirst Headache

Headache From Heater Causes

Headache from the heater does not always cause by the heat itself. Instead, it often occurs due to our body responses to certain factors regulated by the home heater. 

Heater Regulated Triggering Factors 

  • Sudden raised heat/temperature
  • Low humidity
  • Dust, pollens, and other allergens
  • Sudden change in air pressure
  • Blow of hot air
  • Stucked smelling air
  • Overheating

Headache from the heater can be caused by dehydration. People often reduce their water intake during the winter. As a result, when the heater is raising the room temperature, the body needs more water than usual. 

Taking low water can cause headaches and migraine. 

Temperature changes affect the body’s serotonin level. Also, when you enter the home from outside cold temperatures, the body’s serotonin level changes, which can cause sudden dizziness and migraine in some individuals. 

Maintaining an ideal room temperature is necessary. However, increasing the heater temperature is not suitable for your body and health. Instead, try to keep the temperature constant and comfortable. 

Read Headache on the top of the head

Headache From Heater Symptoms

Symptoms of headache caused by room or card heater can vary according to the temperature, exterior weather, and your heat and cold tolerance level. 

Headache From Heat
Headache From Heat

Some common symptoms may include;

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Fainting
  • Muscle cramps and tightness
  • Intense thirst 

If your heat headache is associated with migraine, you may feel some related symptoms such as;

  • Dull sensation around the head
  • Fatigue
  • Light intolerance
  • Dehydration

Headache From Heater Relief 

If the heater causes the headache, the first step should be to stop the heater or maintain a temperature that is ideal for you. 

Headache from the heater is mainly caused by excessive heat that is intolerable for you. Stopping the heater or lowering the temperature will give you long-term relief. 

Try not to exercise while the room temperature is high. 

Drink enough water and if you feel exhausted or sick, do not continue exercise and get laid on your back and take some rest. 

Home Remedies of Headache From the Heater

  • Cold compresses
  • Herbal tea (iced)
  • Caffeine
  • Lavender or Essential peppermint oil

Medication (over the counter)

  • Paracetamol
  • Ibuprofen

Taking over-the-counter NSAIDs such as paracetamol may help you to reduce the initial pain. In addition, make sure you have taken a PPI (proton pump inhibitor) such as omeprazole with NSAIDs. 

Note: NSAIDs increases gastric secretion as a side effect

When To See The Doctor

Headaches from the heater usually go away within one to three hours. However, sometimes the headache persists for more than a few hours, and it comes with additional signs and symptoms. 

You should seek the doctor if you face any of the following symptoms;

  • Persistent nausea and vomiting
  • High-grade fever
  • Unbearable intense pain
  • Slurring of speech
  • Blurring of vision
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Pale skin
  • Intense thirst

If you face headaches because of the room or car heater consistently, you should seek a doctor. 

Sometimes, lowering the temperature and maintaining the best temperature of the heater also does not help. However, cleaning the heater filter, using an air humidifier may help. 

The heater sometimes triggers a sinus headache. Using hypoallergenic lotion or saline nasal spray would help in that case. 

If you have a sinus headache, consult with a doctor and follow their instructions. 

Headache From Heater Prevention

When we know the absolute and relative causes of the headache caused by the heater, we can prevent a headache by compensating for those causes. 

Clean the Heater Filters

Clean the room or car heater filters before starting them for the first time. Then, open the windows and let the stuck air get out. 

Maintain a routine of cleaning the heater at least once a week. 

Maintain An Ideal Temperature

Try not to keep the heater temperature too high or too low, and please do not change the temperature frequently. Your body will adjust to the temperature within a few days. If you change the temperature too frequently, it may affect you adversely. 

Maintain an ideal temperature to prevent headache from the heater
Maintain an ideal temperature to prevent headache from the heater

Use Humidifier

While the weather is cold and using a heater within your home or car, makes the environment drier. 

The dry air absorbs the water from your body and causes dehydration headaches. It also causes some additional symptoms. 

Using an air humidifier can solve that problem. If you are not buying an air humidifier, keep a water bowl near the heater.

Avoid Sleeping With Heater On

It may sound stupid to off the heater during sleep time in winter. If turning off the heater is not for you, lower the temperature a bit to avoid the morning with a headache. 

Drink Enough Water

The heaters make the air of the room or card hot and dry. The dried air absorbs the water from your body surface, which may lead to dehydration, consequently, dehydration headache. 

Drink at least 1.5L of water a day. 

Takeaway

Understanding how the heater causes headaches would solve the problem. Uncleaned heater filter, high temperature, dehydration, dry air, sinus conditions are the leading causes of headache from the heater. 

Taking some precautions and maintaining an ideal temperature solve the headache problem in most cases. 

However, if you are experiencing a headache from using the heater and it is not going away within a few hours, do not hesitate to consult a doctor. 

Last Updated on February 23, 2022 by Learn From Doctor Team

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