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How are headaches and migraines treated in children?

Answered on 11th January 2016
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As with most adults, the majority of headaches and migraines in children can be treated at home without the need to pay a visit to your family doctor.

There are a number of self-help measures that parents can take to help their child feel better:

  • Encourage them to sleep in order to speed up recovery
  • Place a cool, damp cloth on their forehead or eyes
  • Lie them down in a dark, quiet room
  • Ask your child to eat or drink something (make sure any drinks are caffeine free)
  • Get your child to breathe easily and deeply

Making sure your child gets enough sleep, food and drink is also very important in both preventing and treating headaches.

If you feel that your child needs pain relief, there are some medicines that can be taken at migraine or headache onset. Paracetamol and ibuprofen may be suitable for children, unless advised otherwise on the label or by your family doctor or pharmacist. If they do not resolve the symptoms, speak directly to you healthcare professional to discuss possible alternatives. Aspirin should never be used in children under the age of 16 due to the risk of developing Reye’s syndrome, a rare but potentially fatal condition.

If your child experiences regular headaches, your family doctor may suggest keeping a headache diary. Keeping a record of when headaches happen can be an effective way of identifying a potential pattern of triggers that may be causing them.


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