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How to Treat Headaches in Children


At one time or another, almost all children complain of a headache. As a parent, those complaints can be nerve-wracking, which is probably why headaches are one of the three most common symptoms pediatricians see for recurring pain.  

Headaches in children can occur for many reasons. The good news is that we have some tips on how to prevent or treat them. And for those times when your kid really needs relief, over-the-counter pain medicines, like Children’s TYLENOL®, are available and may be a good option. Here are some helpful tips for helping to relieve your child’s headaches.

Common Causes of Headaches in Children

1. Minor Illnesses: Headaches are often a symptom of a minor ailment such as a cold, the flu, or strep throat. It’s not uncommon for a child to experience a headache and fever at the same time if they are experiencing the onset of sickness, so taking their temperature is a good idea.
2. Stress: Kids deal with emotional stress just like we do as adults, and that tension can lead to a headache.
3. Hunger or thirst: If your child hasn’t eaten well or drank enough during the day, this may also result in a headache.
4. Migraines: Migraines, which tend to run in families, are caused by chemicals that constrict blood vessels in the brain.  They are recurrent headaches that are typically more severe and can be characterized by a variety of discomforts including throbbing or stabbing pains in one or more areas of the head. During a migraine, your child may also complain of agonizing burning, tingling or squeezing sensations in the head. It’s not uncommon for a child with a migraine to also experience nausea, vomiting or visual disturbances such as blurred vision or an intolerance to light. In fact, many children and adults who suffer migraines prefer to be in a dark room while recovering.  Some migraine sufferers are also able to predict that a migraine will soon affect them. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you think your child is having a migraine.

How to Treat and Prevent Headaches in Children

1. Rest and hydration: Making sure your kid gets plenty of sleep and is well-hydrated may help prevent headaches, and can also help them get over an existing headache.
2. Stress relief: If your child is experiencing a headache, stress-management techniques such as breathing exercises or meditation can help to alleviate stress that may be contributing to their headaches.
3. Pain relief: A warm compress or bath can be helpful, and so can treatment with an over-the-counter pain reliever. Children’s TYLENOL® Chewables are an over-the-counter option that can help with headache pain, while being gentle on the stomach. TYLENOL® is the #1 pediatrician recommended brand for headache relief, non-migraine*.

If your child is suffering severe or recurrent headaches, their pediatrician can offer insight. If the headaches are occurring frequently or migraines are disrupting your child’s life, your pediatrician may also recommend prescription drugs, as oral and nasal solutions are now available. Although headaches are common occurrences that some adults opt to grin and bare, seeing a child suffer is never easy. Helping them recover through rest, use of over-the-counter or prescribed medicine as directed, and a lot of cuddles can help get you both back into your typical routines.


©Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. 2018

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