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Headache in children

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Headaches in Children

Headaches are common in children. They are usually ‘primary’ headaches — meaning they’re not caused by anything specific, and they’re not associated with any specific medical condition.

Most children and teenagers get at least one headache a year. They are often different from the headaches adults get, so parents can fail to notice the problem.

Headaches are very common in children and adolescents. Many parents worry that their child’s headache is the sign of a brain tumor or serious medical condition, but most headaches in children and adolescents are not the result of a serious illness.

Children also generally recover very quickly. The headache can be over half an hour later with the child feeling well and playing outside as if nothing has happened.

Children rarely fake headaches, Children with headaches may get them if they skip their packed lunch or they haven’t had anything to drink all day.

Types of headaches

Illness related headaches – Viral or upper respiratory infections, sinusitis, ear infections Malaria, bacterial meningitis, also cause a headache, although other signs and symptoms are usually also present.

Injury-related headaches –  Head injuries, which can occur at home, school, or while playing sports, are a common cause of headaches. Children who have a head injury and who also have nausea, vomiting, loss of consciousness.

Sport can also trigger children’s headaches, probably because of dehydration and the effect on blood sugar.

Tension-type headaches – Tension-type headaches occurs when stressed out and  cause a pressing tightness, usually located over the forehead, although it may feel like a tight band around the head. The pain is usually mild to moderate and  may last from 30 minutes to several days.

Migraine headaches -The symptoms of migraine vary with age. In young children, the headache often begins in the late afternoon. The pain is usually pounding or throbbing, lasts between one and two hours, and may involve one or both sides of the head or the entire head. The headache is often accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light and noise. A child may vomit one or more times.

Genetic predisposition.- Headaches, particularly migraines, tend to run in families.

Certain foods and beverages- Nitrates, a food preservative can trigger headaches, as can the food additive MSG. Also, too much caffeine — contained in soda, chocolates, coffees and teas — can cause headaches.

Problems in the brain- A brain tumor , Space occupying lesions, abscess or bleeding in the brain can press on areas of the brain, causing a chronic, worsening headache.

Supportive treatment: these are probably better headache remedy for children than any  pain medication.

  • Lie them down in a quiet, dark room.
  • A kiss on the forehead,
  • Put a cool, moist cloth across their forehead or eyes.
  • Get them to breathe easily and deeply.
  • Encourage them to sleep as this speeds recovery.
  • Encourage them to eat or drink something (but not energy drinks containing caffeine).

The best way for parents to prevent their children getting these headaches is to make sure they have regular meals and drinks, and that they get enough sleep,

Paracetamol and ibuprofen are both safe and work well for children with headaches.

They can be treated at home with pharmacy remedies and avoided by making sure children get enough food, drink and sleep.

In conclusion , Parents are encourage to seek prompt and proper  medical care if the child’s headaches: Wake child from sleep, worsen or become more frequent, prolong, change child’s personality, follows an injury, such as a blow to the head to , associated with persistent vomiting or visual changes, are accompanied  by fever and neck pain or stiffness.(Punch)

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