Just like adults, toddlers experience headaches. In fact, according to The Mayo Clinic, children can also develop migraine, tension and chronic daily headaches just like the rest of us. The Mayo Clinic noted that headaches among children shouldn't be a cause for alarm and are usually co-morbid with infections like colds or occurs due to stress or minor head injuries. Dr. Alan Greene of Dr. Greene.com also said that headaches in children occur due to vision and dental problems.
So, how do you know for sure your child is having a headache?
Headaches do not last long in children, according to Center for Neuroscience and Trauma at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry professor Anne MacGregor. Children also exhibit symptoms like lethargy or paleness immediately at the onset of headaches. Vomiting and stomach ache may also occur with the headache, professor MacGregor said on the UK National Health Service website.
The good news is, headaches resolve within half an hour in most kids, said professor MacGregor. Most of all, they're manageable.
Headaches can be treated with over-the-counter pain drugs like Tylenol. Cooling packs like the Thermal-Aid Zoo animal pack can provide headache relief. The animal pack is made from terrycloth cotton, and specialized corn kernels which are moisture-free and hold temperatures longer. The Thermal-Aid Zoo heating and cooling pack can also be used in tandem with a headache and pain relief cream from the said company's headache relief system. Parents, who do not prefer to use the cuddly Zoo packs on their kids, can opt for the Thermal Aid therapy packs that come in various size . Thermal Aid's Headache Relief System also includes an eye pack which is very helpful in managing headaches and eye pressure.
These things can only do so much, however, in managing and preventing headaches. Lifestyle changes are also key to keeping headaches at bay. Often times, MacGregor notes, headaches are caused by hunger or dehydration due to missed meals, lack of sleep, sports and emotional stress. Thus, making sure that kids are well-hydrated when performing physical activities, well-fed, get enough sleep and aren't stressed can help prevent their headaches.
The Mayo Clinic advises parents to take of note their child's headache symptoms and to consult a doctor when they notice that symptoms have worsened or occur more often than the usual. At times, headaches are caused by underlying medical conditions like meningitis or brain tumors, which only medical professionals could rule out.
Paying attention to your child's headache symptoms also helps in determining their predisposition to adult headache disorders. Headaches and migraine symptoms like paroxysmal vertigo or cyclic vomiting are also found be precursors to adult migraines, according to the Namours-sponsored KidsHealth website. KidsHealth defines paroxysmal vertigo as vertigo that involves a spinning sensation and resolves in minutes. Cyclic vomiting occurs among kids and last for hours and days. They are not often linked with headache episodes. Paroxysmal vertigo and cyclic vomiting go away by the time the child reaches the age of five and hit puberty, respectively.
Headaches are bothersome and could affect your child's performance at school as well as their social interactions. Make sure your child is getting the help he or she needs in living headache-free.