Can Your Child's Headache Be An Actual Migraine?

Most of us have heard of adults having migraine attacks, but did you know that children can get migraines too? The truth is that a migraine doesn’t discriminate by age and can cause debilitating attacks on children and adults alike.

Dealing With a Child’s Migraine

Most of us find it difficult to even deal with a simple headache, which may last a couple of hours; then, imagine a more persistent and throbbing ache that can last as long as a week in extreme cases.

A migraine attack, unfortunately, does not stop with a headache and is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and other symptoms. A severe attack can easily disrupt your daily routine and in extreme cases can force you to stay indoors until the symptoms subside. When it can be so extreme for an adult, just imagine how it could impact a child.

An interesting fact about migraines is that they can be hereditary, so if you have suffered from it all your life, it is highly possible that your child may have it too. Studies show that nearly 70 percent of children diagnosed with migraines tend to have at least one close family member who also suffers from the condition. Parents, therefore, need to understand that children can get migraines too and should pay more attention to their child’s complaints of headaches.

Symptoms to watch out for

Unlike a fever, where you can feel your child’s rising body temperature, a migraine may or may not present any symptoms apart from a headache. So, if your child complains of nausea and vomiting or suddenly becomes irritable and wants to stay in a dark room, you can expect the onset of a migraine attack.

Common triggers of a migraine

Migraines can be triggered by factors like an unbalanced diet and irregular food habits, sleep deprivation, stress, dehydration and menstruation and these triggers may be common in adults and children.

Treating a migraine

The simplest remedy, for many adults and children, is a long nap, preferably in a dark room, with a cold compress across the forehead or eyes. If that doesn’t help, your child’s doctor may suggest medicines to prevent migraines, if they are very frequent, common pain relievers like ibuprofen, migraine medications like triptans and medications to address nausea.

You could also discuss relaxation techniques like yoga and breathing exercises that may help your child relax and experience some relief.

Tips to help your child cope with a migraine

  • Help your child manage stress by teaching them the right breathing exercises and other relaxation techniques that may have helped with your own condition.
  • Many factors can trigger a migraine, so make sure to stay updated on everything that goes on in your child’s life. This will help you support them in case there is a stressful situation at school or at home.
  • Keep track of your child’s migraine symptoms, frequency and duration of each attack to help the doctor assess the condition in a better way. You could also use an app to track these factors.
  • Though it might annoy your child, give them constant reminders to take their medications on time, every time.

If you, your spouse or both suffer from migraines and your child has been complaining of severe and persistent headaches, it may be time to see a specialist who can either diagnose or rule out a migraine.

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