Just like adults, children can develop headaches for any number of reasons, from dehydration to lack of sleep. If your child has been suffering from headaches regularly, or if they have migraine symptoms like nausea, visual changes, or slurred speech with their headaches, it's important to take them to the pediatrician. However, the occasional mild headache can almost always be safely dealt with at home. Here are some tips to make your child more comfortable and encourage the headache to pass.
Give pain relievers.
Hopefully you have either children's ibuprofen or acetaminophen on hand--or can obtain it from a nearby drugstore. Give your child a single does of one of these medications. Only give as much as is recommended on the label. If your child is under the minimum age the medication is recommended for, skip this step as giving them an oral pain reliever may not be safe.
Encourage them to drink.
Many headaches are due, at least in part, to dehydration. Encourage your child to take in more fluids by giving them a glass or two of their favorite beverage. This is a good time to give them some sweet drinks or juice, even if you don't regularly offer them such beverages, because it will encourage them to drink more. You could also offer them some frozen popsicles or ice pops.
Massage their head and neck.
Sometimes, tension in the neck and shoulders contributes to headaches--even in kids. Have your child sit in front of you, and use your hands to gently massage his or her head and neck. Use big, circular motions and a gentle touch. Have your child take deep breaths and relax as much as they can during this process.
Apply a cold wash cloth.
If your child is still uncomfortable after following these tips, you can soak a washcloth in cool water and lay it across their forehead. After a few minutes, do the same thing across the back of their head and neck. Sometimes the cold helps ease the inflammation that is contributing to the headache. Do not use ice in this area; you risk getting your child's sensitive skin too cold and causing frostbite.
In most cases, headaches will clear away within an hour or two when you follow the tips above. To prevent future headaches, make sure your child is drinking plenty of liquids, minimizing their time outside when it's very hot, and getting enough sleep. Contact a business such as Advocare Lerch & Amato Pediatrics for more information.