Childrens headaches - a new complaint just started, never before?

Some sort of sudden infection probably has caused these childrens headaches.

This is one time when a thermometer may be useful. Fever is an early sign of a child's healthy rapid response to an infection.

It is not an indicator of how serious the infection is. Toddlers can throw a high fever with even a slight head cold. A flushed and irritable child is probably not very ill. A pale and lethargic child may be seriously ill, needing urgent medical attention.

If the child will sit up, can you get them to look down at their tummy? Meningitis is a serious infection which causes a stiff neck, preventing them from looking down.

Any skin rash now, also warrants urgent medical assessment.

Sudden headache without fever could be due to all sorts of things.

Has the child just had a fall and jarred their neck or bumped their head? Children's bones are more flexible and can take a lot of bumps, but they can easily enough get hitched joints in their neck or upper back, causing headaches.

As with anything new and unexpected, ideally get a professional examination ASAP.

Recurrent episodic headaches

In migraine, children may have previously had tummy pains or vomiting, and may have disturbance of their vision with the attacks.

Food intolerance is the number one thing to look for.

An Australian paediatrician has commented that she sees children referred for headaches more towards the end of the school year, and that most families are best helped by...

"simple understandable explanation of their child's paroxysmal headaches as a common, benign, biological phenomenon."


Chronic headaches in children

This unusual situation always needs professional assessment, and may be due to some of the causes mentioned above, as well as more serious conditions.

Fortunately, even now nasty things are uncommon┬╣. One study found only 3 serious illnesses in 815 such children with chronic headaches.


References

1. Abu-Arefeh I, et al Serious chronic disorders in children with chronic headache. Arch Dis Child 2005; 90; 937-40



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