How common are headaches in children?
I remember as a child having headaches but adults always said ” you are too young to have headaches!” I ythink ig was because people assume that they are are associated with worry and in those days adults assumed children had nothing to worry about.
We recently had a Newsletter from the Paediatric Integrated Care Team at St Mary’s hospital and I thought I would share their comments.
Up to 90% of school children report headaches.
Migraines are reportedly present in up to 3% of 3-7 year-olds; up to 11% of 7-11 year olds; and up to 23% of 11-15 year olds
Migraines are more common in boys than girls before puberty, with a female preponderance in adolescence.
Management of childhood headaches
- avoid skipping breakfast
- drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration
- consider stresses at home or school (exams or bullying)
- is the child having adequate sleep – is there a routine?
These are important factors to eliminate or address if appropriate in order to treat headaches satisfactorily.
Headache self help tips for children
Often, simple steps will be enough to help your child through a headache or migraine attack.
- Lie them down in a quiet, dark room.
- 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 drinks containing caffeine).
If you think your child needs painkillers, start the medicine as soon as possible after the headache has begun. Paracetamol and ibuprofen are both safe and work well for children with headaches. The syrups are easier for children to take than tablets. Alternatively, try Migraleve, a pharmacy remedy that treats migraine and is suitable for children aged over 10.
A headache diary is useful especially for highlighting triggers.
However, every parents concern is when do I need to worry, what do I need to look out for in case it is a brain tumour?
- persistent headache (continuous or recurrent, present for more than 4 weeks)
- nausea and vomiting , behavioural change- lethargy/strong>
- altered consciousnessPlease then see your GP to consider referral to a specialist Paediatrician
A referral may be considered if the headaches are not responding to lifestyle changes or simple pain relief and the child or young adult is having frequent school absenteeism.