Overview

Headaches In Children: The Kids Suffer Too

  Yes, it is true that a migraine can attack a child as young as 10 years of age. Stresses at home and at school, coupled with peer pressure can lead to headaches in children which can further get transformed to migraine later on in life. These headaches can also be caused due to depression. So parents of young children have to be extremely vigilant about what might be causing their child's nausea and vomiting.

The frequency of headaches in children increases once they reach puberty. Although, initially the rate at which boys and girls get affected by this disorder is the same, but during adolescence, girls are more affected by it compared to boys.

It is absolutely necessary for the physician to undertake a complete neurological exam and also a detailed history to determine migraine in children.

Various types of headaches can afflict children. These can range from migraine, tension-type migraine to organic migraine. Migraine in kids affects both sides of the head, unlike adult migraine. Migraine in kids may also start after some head injury especially during sports. Kids who have either car or motion sickness are likely candidates for migraines later on in life, especially if there is a family history.

Tension-type headaches in children may result due to emotional stress at school, home or friends. Anxiety or depression may result leading to headaches. The headache in this case is not accompanied by nausea or vomiting, but the child does become irritable and pale.

Sometimes, some bacterial or viral attack may be the cause of headache in children. This kind of headache is referred to as an organic headache. But if the new headache is accompanied by fever, lethargy and a stiff neck, then a case of encephalitis or meningitis should be suspected. In this condition, the child should be rushed to the doctor because both encephalitis and meningitis can prove to be fatal.

Various treatments can be prescribed to treat headaches in children. These include keeping a headache diary and practicing relaxation techniques. Aspirin should be avoided as it can lead to brain and liver damage and Reye's syndrome in youngsters.

Reye's Syndrome:
Reye's syndrome is seen in children between the ages of 4 and 12. It starts about a week after an upper respiratory infection or chickenpox with vomiting which may continue for a long time. This is followed by an irritated behavior, deliriums, semi-consciousness, seizures, coma and then a quick death.

Usually, the symptoms in children resolve themselves with regular healthy sleeping and eating patterns. Also, a lot of fluids should be ingested while the child is playing outside especially in hot weather. Children are also quite amenable to biofeedback therapy. Analgesics and antiemetics can be administered. However, narcotic analgesics should be avoided.