When your kid has a headache, you’ll do anything to help them feel better. But knowing how to treat children’s headaches is not always straightforward, given the many potential causes for these pains. It may take a little trial and error to find your kid’s cure.
Although it may seem like headaches are an adult’s domain, many children experience these pains as well. In fact, 17 percent of children have experienced severe or frequent headaches, as a 2009 study in the Journal of Child Neurology found. The study looked at children aged 4 to 18, so headaches can affect very young kids as well. When your kid is one of those suffering from this common problem, though, it can be especially upsetting.
In addition, headaches and their exact causes are not completely understood. Tight muscles and expanded blood vessels in the head may be a headache trigger, as explained by the Stanford Children’s Hospital. But changes in the nervous system may also cause a headache. Plus, children’s headaches can be caused by anything from dehydration to genetic issues to stress, as further noted by the Stanford Children’s Hospital. There’s a lot of information to process when it comes to headaches, in other words. Thankfully, though, there are some simple steps you can take to help your kid feel better soon.
1. Keep Your Kid Hydrated
Make sure your kid drinks plenty of water, and not just when they feel thirsty. In fact, dehydration is a migraine trigger, as noted by Norton Children’s. Offer your kid plenty to drink, even if it results in an extra bathroom trip now and then.
2. Try OTC Medications
For infrequent headache troubles, mild medication can help. Over-the-counter children’s medications that target pain are a good idea, as explained in the American Migraine Foundation. If you have any questions about the best meds for your child, contact your pediatrician for advice.
3. Serve Sports Drink
Giving your kid some sports drink to enjoy might help lessen the headache. "Part of what happens during a migraine is the blood vessels dilate and leak," said Dr. Andrew D. Hershey in Parents. "The sugar in these drinks helps the salt and water get absorbed, and the salt helps keep the water inside the blood vessels." A simple cure for your kid’s headache might be chilling in the refrigerator right now.
4. Offer A Snack
Hunger can worsen headaches. So ease your child’s headache by offering your kid a healthy snack such as fresh fruit or whole wheat toast, as noted in the Mayo Clinic. Really, few things feel worse than having a headache combined with hunger.
5. Turn Off The Lights
Even dim lights can feel like torture to people suffering from migraines. To combat this, have your kid with a headache relax in a quiet and dark room, as noted in WebMD. Shut the curtains and try to make the room as dark as possible.
6. Consider Supplements
Supplements are another potential form of treatment. Giving your kid supplements such as magnesium and vitamin B2 may help prevent migraines, as explained by the American Migraine Foundation. If you have any concerns, check with your pediatrician about these supplements first.
7. Visit Your Pediatrician
If your kid’s headaches are especially severe or frequent, then don’t hesitate to see your pediatrician for a diagnosis. You may want to keep a list of your child’s potential headache triggers prior to this visit. Anything from food preservatives to illnesses to stress can trigger headaches, according to the Mayo Clinic, so you might need to consider all sorts of causes. Hopefully, though, you and your doctor can properly treat your kid’s headache in no time.