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Headaches in children and adolescents

Headaches in children and adolescents

Valerie Amstadt, PA-C
Campbell County Medical Group Kid Clinic

This month I have been seeing a lot of children with headaches and wanted to offer some information on what parents can do before contacting a provider.

Headaches in young children and adolescents are common and usually aren't serious. The most common types of headaches that children can experience are tension-type headaches, migraines, and cluster headaches. Children can also get headaches that go along with a cold, the flu, a sore throat, or a sinus infection. To help prevent headaches, you should:

  • be sure that your child is getting plenty of sleep
  • limit screen time (TV, video games, tablets, cell phone) to less than two hours per day
  • encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids and limit caffeine intake
  • be sure they are eating three meals per day
  • encourage regular exercise
  • decrease the amount of life stressors they may have
  • and be sure to get their eyes checked on a regular basis

Headaches in children usually can be treated with over-the-counter pain medications and simple changes in some other lifestyle measures. If your child has a headache, you should give them extra water, and can offer Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or Ibuprofen (Motrin, Aleve), and encourage them to lie down in a dark, quiet room with a cool cloth on their forehead.

It's important to pay attention to your child's headache symptoms and consult a doctor if the headache worsens or occurs frequently. You should see your child's doctor if:

  • they develop headaches after a head injury
  • they have more than one to two headaches per month
  • the headaches are waking your child up from sleep
  • the headaches become more frequent or severe
  • the headache is associated with vomiting, neck pain, change in vision, confusion, or a fever greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit

The Kid Clinic is a school-based pediatric clinic for Campbell County students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade and their siblings over the age of 2. The Kid Clinic is a collaborative effort between Campbell County Health and Campbell County School District. For more information, call 307-688-8700 or visit www.cchwyo.org/kidclinic.

Help the Kid Clinic celebrate its one-year anniversary on Saturday, April 18 from 10 am-12 pm at the Kid Clinic in the old Hillcrest Elementary School Gym, 800 S. Butler Spaeth Rd, across from St. Matthew's Catholic Church. Fun on the Go will be set up and popcorn and punch will be provided for refreshments. We hope to see you there!