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Wednesday, 19 August 2015
The research, conducted by Dr. Pakalnis and fellow neurologist Dr. Geoffrey Heyer, is rooted in a retrospective analysis of about 1300 emergency department visits from 2010-2014. Results concluded that when monthly emergency department visits are grouped seasonally, there is an increase in headaches in Autumn in children ages 5 to 18-years-old.
Researchers say headaches in young boys are most common from five to nine years of age but they tend to get better in later adolescence. In teenage girls, migraines oftentimes make their first presentation around the time of puberty and unfortunately tend to persist into adulthood according to the study.
The two types of primary headaches seen most often by physicians are tension headaches and migraines. While migraines are less common in children, they are far more severe in regards to the pain that children experience. Migraines are generally associated with nausea and vomiting, and sensitivity to light, sound and smell, but tension headaches tend to feel more like tightening around the head and children can continue with their normal day despite the discomfort.
The increase in Autumnal headaches may be attributed to a number of factors, including academic stressors, schedule changes and an increase in extracurricular activity. Other common headache triggers include lack of adequate sleep, skipping meals, poor hydration, too much caffeine, lack of exercise and prolonged electronic screen time.
These results support previous research done by confirming that lifestyle issues are important in managing headaches and migraines, and minimizing stressors will decrease headache and migraine frequency.
Researchers say headaches can often be prevented by eating three meals a day, getting enough sleep at night without napping during the day, drinking enough liquids, and working to remove the stresses in a child's day. Pain medicines such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can also be helpful, but they can make headaches worse if taken too often. Parents should work with their child's doctor to manage and prevent headaches.
Source: ScienceDaily, 14 August 2015.