|When to Call Your Doctor|
|Call 911 Now (your child may need an ambulance) If|
|Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If|
|Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If|
|Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If|
|Parent Care at Home If|
|Causes & Health Information|
- Viral illnesses. Most headaches are part of a viral illness, especially with colds. Most often, these last a few days.
- Muscle tension headaches. Most common type of frequent headaches. Muscle tension headaches give a feeling of tightness around the head. The neck muscles also become sore and tight. Tension headaches can be caused by staying in one position for a long time. This can happen when reading or using a computer. Other children get tension headaches as a reaction to stress or worry. Examples of stress in children are pressure for better grades or family arguments.
- Migraine headaches. Severe, very painful headaches that keep your child from doing normal activities. They are throbbing and often occur on one side. Vomiting or nausea are present in 80%. Lights and sound make them worse. Most children want to lie down in a dark, quiet room. Will recur.
- Other common causes. Hunger, hard work or sports, sunlight, coughing.
- Frontal sinusitis. Can cause a frontal headache just above the eyebrow. Rare before 10 years old because frontal sinus not formed yet. Other sinuses cause face pain, not headache.
- Serious causes. Meningitis or encephalitis. Symptoms include a headache, stiff neck, vomiting, fever and confusion.
- Mild: Your child feels pain and tells you about it. But, the pain does not keep your child from any normal activities. School, play and sleep are not changed.
- Moderate: The pain keeps your child from doing some normal activities. It may wake him or her up from sleep.
- Severe: The pain is very bad. It keeps your child from doing all normal activities.
|CARE ADVICE FOR HEADACHES|
Treatment for Mild Headache
- What You Should Know:
- Headaches are very common with some viral illnesses. Most often, these will go away in 2 or 3 days.
- Unexplained headaches can occur in children, just as they do in adults. They usually pass in a few hours or last up to a day.
- Most headaches (including muscle tension headaches) are helped by the following measures.
- Pain Medicine:
- To help with the pain, give acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen. Use as needed. See Dose Table.
- Headaches due to fever are also helped by bringing the fever down.
- Give fruit juice or food if your child is hungry.
- If your child hasn't eaten in more than 4 hours, offer some food.
- Reason: Skipping a meal can cause a headache in many children.
- Lie down in a quiet place and relax until feeling better.
- Cold Pack:
- Put a cold pack or a cold wet washcloth on the forehead.
- Do this for 20 minutes.
- Stretch and rub any tight neck muscles.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Headache becomes severe
- Vomiting occurs
- Headache without other symptoms lasts more than 24 hours
- Headache lasts more than 3 days
- Your child becomes worse
- Extra Advice - Muscle Tension Headache Prevention:
- If something bothers your child, help him talk about it. Help him get it off his mind.
- Teach your child to take breaks when he is doing school work. Help your child to relax during these breaks.
- Teach your child the importance of getting enough sleep.
- Some children may feel pressure to achieve more. This may cause headaches. If this is the case with your child, help him find a better balance.
- Caution: Frequent headaches are often caused by too much stress or worry. To be sure, get your child a medical checkup first.
- What You Should Know:
- This headache is like the migraine headaches that your child has had before.
- Here is some care advice that should help.
- Migraine Medicine:
- If your child's doctor has prescribed a medicine for migraines, use it as directed. Give it as soon as the migraine starts.
- If not, ibuprofen is the best over-the-counter drug for migraines. Give ibuprofen now. Repeat in 6 hours if needed. See Dose Table.
- Have your child lie down in a dark, quiet place.
- Try to fall asleep.
- People with a migraine often wake up from sleep with their migraine gone.
- Prevention of Migraine Attacks:
- Drink lots of fluids.
- Don't skip meals.
- Get enough sleep each night.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Headache becomes much worse than past migraines
- Headache lasts longer than past migraines
And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms.
This free app has a symptom checker,
dosage tables for common medications,
home health advice and more.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.
Last Reviewed: 9/1/2012
Last Revised: 1/13/2013
Content Set: Child Symptom Checker
Copyright 1994-2012 Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.