Headaches increase in autumn for kids, physicians say

Columbus, OH – Headaches among children increase in the fall, possibly due to changes in stress and routines as they return to school, according to research from Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Researchers examined data from about 1,300 emergency department visits between 2010 and 2014, and found an increase in headaches during the autumn in children 5 to 18 years old. Potential factors include schedule changes, more extracurricular activities and academic stress, the researchers state. Not enough sleep, food, water and exercise, as well as too much caffeine and computer use, also could play a role.

Researchers offered the following tips for preventing headaches:

  • Get enough sleep.
  • Eat three meals per day.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Reduce stress.

Pain medicine also can help, but taking it too often can make a headache worse, the hospital advises.

About 10 percent of school-age children and 15 percent to 27 percent of teens experience headaches, according to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Seek medical attention for your child if he or she has a headache that becomes severe or more frequent, it causes the child to wake up, or it results in vomiting.