Children, like adults, may suffer from headaches for a variety of reasons. A headache upon waking is very common. In most cases, headaches are not cause for concern. They simply indicate muscle tension, allergies, stress and other minor conditions. Severe headaches, headaches that last for several days and headaches associated with fever may signal something more serious, so contact your child's pediatrician if the headache lasts for several days.
Children may experience several types of headaches upon waking. Brief dizziness and pain in the head may be a result of low blood sugar after a night without food, according to pediatrician and author William Sears. Pressure around the face accompanied by a headache is often caused by a sinus headache. Headaches in the back of the head and top of the neck might be the result of muscle tension. The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that severe, painful headaches concentrated in one specific area and accompanied by swelling, fever or confusion may indicate a serious medical condition. Contact your pediatrician in this case.
The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that most children experience a headache at some point. Lifestyle and environmental conditions frequently cause headaches. Dehydration headaches are especially common in the morning because your child has gone all night without fluids. Sinus headaches are commonly the result of sinusitis, allergies or irritation by strong smells. Some children experience migraines, which are often genetically based headaches that cause light and sound sensitivity. Overexertion, exhaustion, stress and low blood sugar are also associated with headaches. Rarely, a headache may be caused by a serious underlying condition such as a tumor or blood clot.
Never give your child over-the-counter headache remedies unless directed to do so by your pediatrician. Massaging the neck and back of the head may help alleviate tension and stress-related headaches. Encourage your child to drink water, which will help with dehydration. A cool compress placed on the head may help with migraines. For sinus-related headaches, place a warm compress on the sinuses around the cheeks. Encourage your child to keep her head elevated, which may encourage sinus drainage.
Rarely, a headache may indicate a serious illness such as infection, meningitis or cancer. If you notice swelling on any area of your child's body or your child has an unexplained fever, take her to the doctor immediately. Any headache that lasts for several days or becomes more painful requires a consultation with a doctor, according to the book "Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care."
- "Child Psychology: Development in a Changing Society"; Robin Harwood, et al.; 2008
- "American College of Physicians Complete Home Medical Guide"; David R. Goldman; 2003
- "Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care, 8th Edition"; Benjamin Spock; 2004
- "Health, Safety and Nutrition for the Young Child"; Lynn R. Marotz; 2011