Headache Or Migraine?
You get colds, your child gets colds. You get the flu, your child gets the flu. You get headaches, and yes, your child can get headaches, too. Whether from dehydration, stress or an illness, why shouldn't kids get headaches just as adults? Thankfully, you usually can treat simple headaches with simple medications. But sometimes, childhood headaches are a little more intense and warrant a little (or a lot) more scrutiny.
When my son recently experienced recurrent intense headaches for several days -- headaches that really knocked him down physically and emotionally -- we took a little crash course in possible causes of headaches. For a couple days, the possibility that he had developed migraines was in the mix. The headaches turned out to be due to a virus that resolved, but not before moving on to the parents (ow!). In the process, I developed even more sympathy for what my son experienced and what headache sufferers in general endure.
What is a migraine?
Migraine headaches are chronic, severe headaches that can last many hours or even days. The intense throbbing discomfort can include sensitivity to light and sound, cause nausea and vomiting, and
generally make the sufferer pretty miserable. Sometimes, migraines include warning signs such as flashes of light, blindspots or tingling in the arm or leg; this is called an aura. The frequency of
migraines varies from person to person, from several times a month to every several months (and every frequency in between).
Get your doctor involved right away
While most headaches in kids are not serious, extremely intense and/or recurrent headaches can be symptoms of other, more insidious conditions. Talking to your pediatrician about what is going on
is important. Trust your Mommy instinct on this one; if it doesn't feel right in any way, call your doctor or go to the ER.
Healthful habits may help
Just like in adults, good self-care may help manage migraine headaches in kids:
Whether or not your child's headaches turn out to be migraines, headaches hurt, just as they do in us adults. Sympathy, reassurance, love and care go a long way to helping your child through any headache or illness.
For more tips on keeping your family healthy: