What Is in the air, it’s Giving Me a Headache?

You would think that “fresh air” is easy to come by, as it is a necessity for all life on this planet.

Well, we need to think again.

We have been polluting planet earth and its once “fresh air” is no longer so readily available for everyone to breathe. You may ask, what is in the air, it’s giving me a headache?

Depending on where you live in the world and what direction the wind is blowing, the air quality can be making you ill and causing you to suffer from migraines and other health-related issues.


Air Pollution Increases – So Do My Migraines!

As the human population increases throughout the world, so does the air pollution increase and it is impacting the air quality. Something so important to our general health.

With overcrowded cities and traffic congestion, factory production, bushfires, volcanic gases, animal production for food, forest burning or clearing, its no wonder the air if taking a battering.

Every day the air around us is being filled with pollutants and the quality of our air is put at risk. This then can cause us problems externally with our skin, hair and eyes, along with whatever its actually doing to us internally, with things like sore dry throat, blocked sinuses and not to mention our lungs.

Exuviance Probiotic Lysate Anti-Pollution Essence – 3.4 Oz

Marcelle City 24H Anti-Pollution Day & Night Moisturizing Emulsion, Hypoallergenic and Fragrance-Free, 1.35 fl oz

Revlon PhotoReady Candid Natural Finish, Anti-Pollution Foundation, Sand Beige.75 Fluid Oz

Air Quality Monitor, Formaldehyde Detector, Pollution Meter, Sensor, Tester; Detect & Test Indoor Pollution, TVOC Volatile Organic Compound Gas, PM2.5 2.5 Micron Particulate Matter Dust; eBook

Naturalife True HEPA Air Purifier, 4 Stage Filtration and Ionization System for Large Rooms up to 376 sq.ft, Home Air Cleaner for Allergens, Smoke, Odors, Mold, Dust, Germs, Pet Dander, Auto Pollution

6 in 1 Multifunctional Indoor Air Quality Monitor – Track What’s in the Air that Surrounds You (with rechargeable battery)

Are Migraines And Headaches Linked to Air Pollution?

In a study by the National Headache Foundation, they found that migraine headaches were mostly associated with individual air pollutants, while ozone was the pollutant mostly associated with headaches.

Health Is In The Air?

Well, it really feels like its all out of our control at times, it’s not that far from the truth, but we can help with the environmental air pollution. Remember, every little bit helps.

Some pollutants are caused naturally within nature, but some are caused by us and there are things that we can do to continue our daily lives and try and do our bit to help to reduce our planets air pollution.

The majority of air pollution is caused by the burning of fossil fuels. These come from burning coal, oil, gasoline, and natural gases which are used to produce power and to keep our cars and other transportation moving.

Increased Carbon dioxide levels in the air are the result of increased fossil fuel burning and other pollutants. Breathing these in on a regular and continued basis is leading to increased health issues in people, including headaches and migraine symptoms.

We need clean fresh air to breathe for our basic survival. My migraines are definitely a symptom being caused by environmental pollution during certain times of the year.

Things You Can Do – How to Make a Pollution Difference!

  • Using your personal car less. Try carpooling or using public transport to reduce traffic on the roads. Also when possible cycle or walk to where you’re going.
  • Reduce energy consumption by turning off computers, lights, and any electrical appliances when they are not in use.
  • Reduce energy consumption by using energy efficient light bulbs and other appliances.
  • Try using electric or battery powered hand tools and lawnmowers as these use fewer fossil fuels.
  • Only turn on the dishwasher and washing machine when they have a full load.
  • Use environmentally friendly cleaning products.
  • Ensure containers of household cleaning products, and any garden chemicals are properly sealed when not in use to prevent them from evaporating into the air.
  • Use solvent-free or water-based paints whenever possible or buy s “low VOC” products
    (Low VOC contain less “Volatile Organic Compounds”)

Health Is In The Air – Can Bad Air Be Causing My Migraines?

It’s believed that the bad air quality is a cause for headaches and migraines in some people.

Breathing in unhealthy pollutants in the air during times of high air pollution is causing a variety of health concerns.

The air we breathe when we are driving in busy traffic, walking in the city streets, or from brush-fires or burn-offs is a major health concern for us all.

Managing and reducing our exposure to air pollution during times of high pollution is an important factor in protecting our immediate and long-term health.

My Personal Experience With Air Pollution – THE HAZE!

I lived in Asia for a period of time and found that during certain times of the year there would be burning of palm forests in countries like Indonesia. This was done to cheaply and quickly clear the land after for palm oil production.

Palm oil is used in many processed foods that we eat and also used in makeup and skin-care products. Just take a look at the ingredient listings, it can be listed as vegetable oil. This practice is causing environmental pollution issues with our air, soil, and water.

It had a huge impact on the air quality for months, not to mention the other environmental impacts on animals, the elderly, waterways and those with homes living near the fires, or within the wind direction of these fires.

During this time of “THE HAZE”, I would get constant migraine headaches, sore and puffy eyes, and blocked sinuses.  There was the concern for my childrens’ health, they were so young at the time, and I now worried about the long-term impact to their health with them breathing this polluted air in over a period of a few months.

It really impacted our lifestyle at the time. What we could do after school hours was limited as we would need to keep indoors and playing outside in the “fresh air ” was not possible.

Although we wore masks to try and protect ourselves we would still hurry to get home and stay indoors with the air conditioner running so that we were not breathing in the haze and harmful air particles.

I would constantly be using the indoor air conditioner to try and minimise any effects on our health. We would continually be checking the air quality apps to see what the air quality was before we went outdoors, all wearing our face masks when walking outdoors to protect ourselves.

How Can I Minimise The Effect of Air Pollution On My Health?

This air quality is not only an environmental factor to blame for causing migraines and headaches but it also has other health concerns including our lungs, eyes, throat, and skin.

What can be done to protect us from this unhealthy air and help to protect our health and help towards preventing environmentally caused migraines?

10 Health Tips for Managing Air Pollution

  1. Before going outside on a Hazy day check the Air Quality. (Air Quality APPs)
  2. If the air quality is bad you can stay inside. 
  3. If pollutants are high, make sure you drink lots of water.
  4. Make sure your air conditioners are serviced and cleaned regularly.
  5. A dehumidifier or an air conditioner can be used indoors. (remember to regularly clean these)
  6. Invest in some air purifying plants (Peace Lily, Aloe Vera, Boston Fern, Spider Plant)
  7. Ensure that your car’s air filter is regularly cleaned.
  8. If going outside wear a face mask to help protect yourself from the pollution. (Recommendation is N95/99 masks)
  9. Keep yourself covered up while outside in haze pollution.
  10. Do not smoke yourself or visit any social smoking areas. (both indoors or outdoors)


NEW Studies Show Air Pollution Risks for Migraine Sufferers

In the there is a study in Seoul in 2018 that states that it “provides new evidence that air pollution exposure may trigger migraine especially on high-temperature days” and it also states that his finding may contribute in establishing preventive measures against a migraine. but personally, I want to find ways to help myself naturally without taking long-term medications.

There are numerous other studies showing that in some of our most populated cities with increased PM2.5 and PM10 readings that some people were prone to increased migraines.

The brochure below shows a more in-depth understanding of Air quality and how to interpret the readings, and what to do during times of increasing air pollution.


Environmental-Pollution- America-Air-Quality Index-Booklet Air-Pollution-Index-chart


If you are having headaches or migraine headaches you should always seek the advice of your Medical Professional to ensure that there are no other underlying problems causing your Migraines.

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  1. I think you are right, health is in the air, and in the water. And I believe that the pollution not only causes migraine, but many health problems. And in the air, it goes double, the pollution and the radiation. They don’t know all the effects of WIFI and 4G and 5G too. The air pollution is a global problem, the air knows no boundaries. Thank you for the 10 health tips I can use  Good to remind me of the air filter systems, easy to forget about those.


    • Hi there Loes, I am glad you agree with my post on air pollution and the effects on our health. 

      Taking care of this planets health and our health are actually the same thing, right. 

      We can’t always see the air but we can feel it and now, that I have lived in a city that suffered from HAZE (air that I could see) with high PM2.5 and PM10 particle exposure in the air I have become far more aware of the roll on effect to my own health during that time. 

      A wide range of environmental influences effect our health and we must always take precautions to care for ourselves as best as we can. 

      Wishing you a healthy future always, Mary.

  2. Very informative article. I myself do get migraines almost every week over a year or two ago, but I have never really thought that air quality could be a factor that may be contributing to it. You have opened my mind to the possibility. I do like your tips on how to reduce our pollution contribution or carbon footprint.

    One thing that helped reduced my migraines was when I changed my eating lifestyle. So it kinda relates to what you said as well that pollution contributes not only migraines but has other harmful effects to our bodies. Similarly, the food that we eat nowadays contains more ingredients that are harmful to our bodies so when I changed my eating habits, and also taken some supplemental healthcare products (ask me if you’re interested), then that has significantly lessen my migraine incidents.

    • Hi Mark, Thanks for reading my post on the relationship between pollution and migraine headaches.

      As you have mentioned diet and migraines, I also had found that certain foods cause me to get migraines, I would be interested to know what dietary changes and any types of supplements you have used that have helped you manage your migraine triggers. Personally, I found that dairy has a migraine causing effect on me, so I have reduced and limit these type of food products. I have had great success with taking magnesium supplements (read about magnesium for migraine here) and the use of an acupressure mat (read about acupressure for migraine here). 

      You may enjoy reading some of my other posts on herbal remedies and migraine triggers. I do recommend keeping a migraine/health dairy to help with migraine management too. 

      I look forward to hearing about the success you have had with your own migraine management treatments. 

      Good health and blessings always, Mary.

  3. Dear Mary,

    Thanks a lot for the insightful and informative post. I can tell you I have taken some great insights from this post.

    Once I read… Many of the polluted cities are in India I really felt bad and worried about the air pollution. The health tips you shared is a greater help and thanks a lot for sharing.

    As we all know to fight against this air pollution one of the best ways is to plant more trees. People often says save trees but its other way around actually we are saving ourselves by saving trees.  

    Indeed I do agree with you that polluted air causes Migraines. After reading your post I am planning to bring air purifying plants and Aloe Vera plant is on the top of my list.

    Wishing you much success!


    • Hello Paul, Thank you for reading my post today. It sounds as if you have experienced air pollution first hand, and that you fully understand the effects that it can have on your health. 

      Plants are very important in cleaning the air but its the small particles in the air that we breathe in that are very harmful to us and any headache or migraine you may suffer as a result of the pollution in the air can be difficult to diffuse. 

      Prevention is always going to better than trying to cure. So, if you do suffer these types of pollution related migraines and headaches you are only doing the right thing by takin precautions to clean the air in your living environment indoor and outdoors to help yourself from suffering unnecessarily. 

      Happy plant shopping. Wishing you the best of health, Mary.

  4. Hi Mary, This is an awesome post with resourceful information about Air Pollution and link with migraine. I have some experience of migraine while traveling and facing air pollution in my journey by bus. Until I bathe and take proper sleep, I can not cure from such type of headache. So I believe that there must be link with air pollution and migraine. This article really represent everything about air pollution and protection against it. I believe this post will be helpful for those who really find some alternative to get rid of air pollution. Thanks for sharing this information.

    • Hi Mzakapon, Thank you for reading my article and for the interest in ways to protect yourself against the air pollution. 

      I have spent many a time checking the air pollution readings before taking myself and my children outside into the Haze to ensure the PM2.5 readings and the PM10 readings are within a healthy range. If you suffer Asthma or any other health related breathing issues its important to safe guard yourself and your loved ones as much as possible.

      If you get a Migraine, they can be incredibly difficult to reduce and recover from once they have descended upon you, but I have personally had some wonderful results with taking magnesium supplements (read about magnesium for migraine here) and the use of acupressure (read about acupressure for migraine here). 

      Ensuring you keep your self hydrated and drink lots of water is also very important if you are exposed to air pollution. Wishing you lots of happy and healthy travels in the future. Blessings Always, Mary

  5. it is obvious that air pollution depends on the location on earth and how crowded that location is, especially in big cities such as New York, Shanghai, and Mexico city. But to notice, its not just the number of people that causes air pollution, it the way of living. In big cities, there are more buildings than landscapes which increases the release of CO2 Vs the production of Oxygen. Some cities started to notice this fact and to increase the area of green spaces even on the top of buildings. Such way of living may enhance air quality to a better level.  

    • Hi Mahmood, You are correct in saying that some cities in the world have tried to make a difference and increase the green spaces. Individuals can also help too by trying to minimise their own impacts on air pollution, but this is sometimes not always going to make a difference to the air pollution.

      As I mentioned there are things out of our control, such as land clearing by way of burning, and this has a roll on effect to the other countries nearby or within the path of the wind directions from where the pollution has originated, who suffer the consequences. 

      Studies showing that high levels of air pollution are having an effect on human population by an increase in headaches and migraines recorded during those times when and where pollution readings are high.

      I suppose the important thing is to know when the air is not safe, so that you can take the appropriate actions to protect your health and hopefully prevent or minimise migraine headaches if you are a person who susceptible.

      Blessings and good health to you always, Mary,

  6. in my personal experience I can assure you that air quality can affect our health in many ways. It does not only cause us migraine, it can also cause respiratory problems. For example I live in a city with too much pollution. A big amount of children suffer from respiratory disease due to the air bad quality…

    • Hi there Freery, Yes I know that the pollution has multiple effects on different areas of health. Its important that we all do what we can to help reduce this pollution, but most important is to protect your health when the pollution is high. Blessings and gratitude, Mary

  7. Hello and thank you for this informative and amazing article. It was very thorough and well written. I know air pollution causes many other things among headaches and migraines. I live in a city that has an oil refinery nearby and almost every week there is some kind of notice from the authorites that air has too much of some toxic element and people should pay attention.

    It is really unfortunate but I’ve had troubles with headaches since I was a kid and living in the environment where I live right now is what made this state even worse. I am moving next month to the mountain region on the southeast of the country. Hopefully this will bring end to my headaches.

    Thank you.


    • Hi there Strahinja, I am very sad to hear that you have had a endure this toxic air pollution from a big business. It seems unfair that this is often about big business and money. Did the company provide you with any other information of what to do if the air is polluted in your area. Just informing people doesn’t seem to be enough does it. I hope your new abode has a much more healthy environment for you to enjoy and that you will find relief from you headaches and other health symptoms associated with pollution. If your getting headaches or migraines please read some of my other posts as these may have some helpful insights for you. Perhaps see a health care professional too to check that the headaches are not caused by any other underlying issues. I wish you a healthy future and a fresh new start. Mary

  8. This is a really interesting thought, I had never really thought about the effect of air pollution to migraines, although it does seem logical that they would cause them. 

    I noticed you mentioned smoking as a cause of air pollution and I can definitely vouch for that. My father used to smoke and when I was little and I used to stay at his house, I could never get to sleep because it would make my asthma play up, and would give me headaches. 

    So I can relate to this topic and it is good to know a few things that can help reduce migraines too, thanks for this post.

    • Hi Joe, Yes I agree, air pollution has an effect on many different areas of our health and can also cause migraine headaches. These headaches are just one of the symptoms caused through bad air quality. Keeping healthy fresh air with good ventilation in our homes is very important. 

      Smoking used to be a very popular habit, I know as both my parents smoked when I was young, but I don’t think I actually know anyone now that smokes. Hopefully with all the information available now about smoking and the effects on health, less people are taking up this bad habit and this means that less people breathing in the second-hand smoke. Wishing you a wonderful healthy holiday season. Mary

  9. Very interesting! I never thought about the air that we breath can affected our health. I know in China there pollution is crazy and everyday they got to check the air quality before going to work. Could get that bad everywhere else? What is our states and government doing about it? Does this have to do with globe warming? I believe that we can only control so much one way or a other we are basically going down hill. This shows how important it is to have trees in this world cause they clean a lot of the stuff that are in the air. 

    • Hi Claudia, Yes, it can seem like we are fighting a battle with the world at times as its so important to keep the planet healthy. Yes the governments are trying to reduce carbon emissions and plant more trees. In the cities you will see more green spaces with vertical gardens and rooftop gardens. Every person can do their bit and make a difference though. Keeping yourself healthy during times of pollution, it is important so that you are protecting your body and taking in less of the pollution. The wind blows the pollution in different directions and sometimes where the pollution is created is not necessarily where the pollution ends up. There is always hope that we can change peoples attitudes toward pollution creation and then leave a better world for those in the future. Mary 

  10. julienne murekatete

    Thank you for sharing with us this great post.Air pollution cause many diseases including headache and migraine.Day by day air pollution is increasing and people are not it as a serious problem.

    Thank you for this post which includes many tips to avoid pollution especially around our homes.

    I know that people will understand the importance of taking care of our environment.

    • Hi Julienne. Thanks for commenting on my post. Our planets and our own health are linked. We depend on a healthy planet so that we can live normal healthy lives and not stress about breathing unhealthy air or drinking contaminated waters. Migraines can be caused by environment factors but we have ways in which we can try and protect ourselves and those we care about.  I am glad you enjoyed my post. Mary

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