When Their Head Aches

As parents, you’ve had your share of headaches. But what happens when your child has a headache? What causes that headache and what are the best ways to ease their discomfort?

What Causes the Headache

In many cases, children get headaches because of illness, infection or allergies. Infections like sinusitis or the flu may cause headaches. One of the most common types of headaches in children are tension headaches. These may be caused by emotional stress, eye strain or neck or back strain. According to the Cleveland Clinic, about 5 percent of children and adolescents suffer from migraines. Aside from a family history, triggers like fatigue, bright lights and weather changes may also contribute to the development of migraine headaches.

Write It Down

If you notice that your child is experiencing several headaches or if the number of headaches has increased, talk with your physician about the benefits of journaling these instances. You may want to record factors like time of day, what your child ate that day, how much they had to drink, how much sleep did they get the night before, if they participated in physical activity, etc. Have your child use the pain scale to describe how they feel when they get a headache. Recording triggers like this may help a physician diagnose the type of headache and determine how best to treat your child.

Treat It

There may be a few things you can do at home to ease your child’s discomfort if their headache isn’t accompanied by other symptoms:

  • Put a cold or warm compress on their forehead or neck.
  • Find a cool, dark place for them to lie down.
  • Give them some water or a snack to rehydrate and restore blood sugar.
  • Suggest they wear a hat and sunglasses while they play outside.
  • Have your child get consistent sleep every night.

Treatment options may include acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Learn about the proper dosages of these medications before giving them to your child.

Talk with your pediatrician about your child’s headaches and treatment options. Seek medical attention if your child is experiencing loss of vision, vomiting or muscle weakness associated with a headache. For immediate medical attention when your child’s pediatrician isn’t available, consider a virtual visit with BayCareAnywhere™, or save your spot at a neighborhood BayCare Urgent Care Center.