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When to be concerned about headaches in children

by Elizabeth Leleszi, M.D., pediatric neurologist, medical director of the Beaumont Children’s Hospital Headache Center

It’s one of the statements a parent never wants to hear from a child: “Mom, I have a headache.” What should you do when a headache strikes?

headache_center_lelesziHeadaches are a common source of complaints for children. At the Beaumont Children’s Hospital Headache Center, parents and caregivers tells us that many questions race through their minds when their child complains of a headache. They wonder how best to treat them and worry that something could seriously be wrong.

At what point does my child’s headache warrant a trip to the doctor? Could it be a brain tumor? How much is too much pain medication? And am I using it too frequently? What can I do to treat my child’s headache at home?

You should consider seeing your child’s doctor if the headache:

  • starts after your child hits his or her head
  • awakens your child from sleep at night
  • is accompanied by a high fever (greater than 100.4 F) and other signs of infection, such as a stiff neck, vomiting, difficulty with walking, changes in vision or confusion

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