It usually starts from the forehead or around the eyes and can re-locate to the side of the head. Often, it is associated with nausea and a child with migraine would most often complain that they want to go to a dark and a cool place and lie down.
What are its symptoms?
As mentioned earlier, intense pain which would be pulsating and the feeling of nausea would be the main symptoms of a migraine attack. In certain instances, a phenomenon known as ‘aura’ can be a presenting symptom as well. In this event, before an actual migraine headache, the child would complain of feeling of unusual smells, tastes, visual halos…etc. and with time, beginning of such symptoms would be identified as preceding a full blown ‘migraine attack’.
What are the trigger factors?
For children, the trigger factors can be many and among them, certain foods, smells, excessive physical activity, excessive tiredness, sleep deprivations, emotional stressors, changes in food habits, changes in the body habits as well as excessive light and noises have been identified as triggers for the occurrence of migraine. But, in certain instances, it would be rather difficult to identify a trigger factor and in such instances we have to be cautious with almost all activities that are suspected as being a trigger.
When do children get migraine headaches?
The occurrence of migraine headache can be at very young age, but, the symptoms are classic during the schooling age of a child. During the adolescence age the frequency of such migraine attacks would be higher and it has been found that girls would be more susceptible than boys to develop migraine headaches during this time.
How should these children be cared for at home?
One of the first things to do would be to detect that a particular complain of a headache is actually a migraine type of headache. In order to do this, one would need the support of their doctor and if a child complains symptoms similar to what was mentioned before the child should be taken to a doctor and necessary investigations and treatment needs to be obtained.
Following this, when a child develops a migraine headache, they should be allowed to rest with closed eyes in a relatively dark room without any disturbances with a cool cloth on their forehead. This can relieve the migraine headache in most instances in combination with the medications.
If the child is complaining of the ‘aura’, one should not wait till the headache appear but, should give the medicines which have been prescribed by the doctor to be used in such instances.
In daily activities, parents, caregivers as well as the children should take precautions to avoid the possible triggers and if one particular trigger has been identified, avoiding it and related triggers would be sufficient to control the migraine headache.
Furthermore, the children should stick to a regular meal pattern and needs to avoid missing meals which can also be a trigger factor. At the same time, they should take adequate rest or sleep and should engage in regular exercises, although too much of it might be a trigger for migraine headache.