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|HOME CARE ADVICE FOR HEADACHES|
Treatment for Mild Headache
- Headaches are very common with viral illness, especially with colds. They usually resolve 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: Give acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) or ibuprofen for pain relief (see Dosage table). Headaches due to fever are also helped by fever reduction.
- Food: Give fruit juice or food if your child is hungry or hasn't eaten in more than 4 hours (Reason: Skipping a meal can cause a headache in many children).
- Rest: Lie down in a quiet place and relax until feeling better.
- Local Cold: Apply a cold wet washcloth or cold pack to the forehead for 20 minutes.
- Stretching: Stretch and massage any tight neck muscles.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Headache becomes severe
- Vomiting occurs
- Isolated headache lasts over 24 hours
- Headache lasts over 3 days
- Your child becomes worse
- Extra Advice - Muscle Tension Headache Prevention:
- If something is bothering your child, help him talk about it and get it off his mind.
- Teach your child to take breaks from activities that require sustained concentration. Encourage your child to do relaxation exercises during the breaks.
- Teach your child the importance of getting adequate sleep.
- If over-achievement causes headaches, help your child find more balance.
- Caution: Your child should have a complete medical checkup before you conclude that recurrent headaches are due to worrying too much or stress.
- Reassurance: This headache is similar to previous migraine headaches that your child has experienced.
- Migraine Medication:
- If your child's doctor has prescribed a specific medication for migraine, give it as directed as soon as the migraine starts.
- If not, ibuprofen is the best over-the-counter drug for migraine. Give ibuprofen now and repeat in 6 hours if needed (See Dosage Table).
- Sleep: Have your child lie down in a dark, quiet place and try to fall asleep. People with migraine often awaken from sleep with their migraine gone.
- Prevention of Migraine Attacks:
- Stay well hydrated.
- Don't skip meals.
- Get adequate sleep each night.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Headache becomes much worse than usual
- Headache lasts longer than usual
And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms.
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: 9/15/2011
Last Revised: 8/1/2011
Content Set: Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker
Copyright 1994-2012 Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.