How do I know if my baby has a headache?
Do you suspect your baby has a headache? Here's some signs and symptoms to look out for.
Would you know if your baby is having a headache? Does your baby cry a lot without any obvious reason? Baby headaches can come without us even knowing, sometimes. So how do you tell if your little one is having a headache?
Here’s how you can identify if your baby is having a headache and how to treat them.
Do babies get headaches?
The answer is yes. Just like adults, babies and children do get headaches too. However, they may not be the same experience as an adult and how they react to a headache could be a lot different to you.
What are the symptoms and signs to look out for?
Depending on the age of your child and what’s causing the headache, the symptoms will vary.
A very young baby won’t be able to show that they are having one, and even younger children, who can speak and show hand gestures may not know that it’s their head that is hurting.
Here is a look at the different symptoms and types of headaches your baby might be experiencing:
- Stomach ache
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Severe pain that grows worse with any physical activity
- Your baby may constantly cry and hold or point at his head to show discomfort
2. Stress-Related Headache:
- A constant pain (which can manifest in crying over prolonged periods of time, clutching their head in pain)
- A pain that affects the sides of the head
3. A Cluster Headache:
- The headache can occur once or up to eight times a day. It can last between 15 minutes and 3 hours.
- A runny nose
- Watery eyes
- Congestion in the nose
What causes these headaches?
Just like adults, there are many reasons babies may get a headache. Some of these include:
- A common illness or infection – such as a cold, flu or ear infection
- Stress or anxiety – such as being around new people or away from mum
- An injury to the head – if they fell or knocked their head in some way
- Genetic conditions – headaches can run in the family for some people
In very rare cases, some headaches can be caused by a more serious illness like meningitis, a brain tumour or a bleeding in the brain can create pressure on certain areas of the brain. It can cause or worsen a headache.
What can you do at home?
For mild headaches, some rest or sleep will help your little ones recover within an hour or two.
If they appear to be in a lot of pain, using pain-relief medication on a short-term basis can help.
There are medications like paracetamol or suppositories available for babies. Make sure you get them from your paediatrician (with the right dose according to your baby’s weight) and for emergency use only.
Another method is to sponge the forehead and most importantly, keep their fluids up.
When to be concerned?
A headache can be difficult to spot in your baby. What you dismiss as simple crying or irritability could be a sign of discomfort.
Make sure you pay attention to the symptoms and go to the doctor immediately in the following situations:
- If the headache is so severe that your baby is unable to sleep.
- If the pain causes a change in your baby’s mood and personality.
- If there’s no improvement after giving pain relief for more than two days.
- If you see a noticeable increase in the intensity of the headache.
- If the headache strikes after an injury or a fall.
- If incessant vomiting accompanies a headache.
Source: Mayo Clinic
Read also: Soothing headache and earache in children