Kids get headaches too, even as young as two and three years old! But when many parents first hear their child complaining about head pain, they freak out and head for the Emergency Department. When there is a headache, we all worry about the bad stuff- brain tumors, meningitis, and aneurysms and strokes.
Most headaches in kids are not bad. Usually they are from the same things that give adults headaches- stress and cold viruses. Certain other infections can cause headaches too- strep throat, walking pneumonia, stomach viruses, and other viruses too.
Kids also get migraine headaches. These are headaches that are very painful, sometimes cause vomiting, and make every day living (school work, play) hard. Migraines often come regularly. Some people have them once a month, some once a week, some more often than that. If you think your child has migraines, definitely bring him or her to your doctor to talk about headache treatment and control.
All parents worry that the headaches are something bad, like a brain tumor. So when do you need to bring your child to the Emergency Department? Warning signs of a more serious problem are headaches that wake children up at night, children who act more and more lethargic with their headaches, and headaches with fever and stiff neck.
As always, if you don’t know where to go to start with your child’s headache, call your doctor. They should be able to tell you over the phone if the headache can wait until the next available appointment, or if you should go the Emergency Department.
So if your child gets a headache, don’t panic! If he or she is awake and alert, smiling, drinking, talking well, it is okay! As Arnold Schwarzenegger said in the Kindergarten Cop movie: “Its not a tumor!”