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Back-to-School Time Linked to More Headaches

Back-to-School Time Linked to More Headaches

As children are getting back to school this month, the adjustment from summer relaxation may bring some unwanted stress. According to a new study, the changes in sleep patterns, routines and stress increase the amount of headaches children experience during fall season.

While some children may just want to hold on to the fun of summer a little longer, researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital have found evidence that poor hydration, too much screen time and other factors could contribute to their headaches.

“We see a lot of headaches in young boys, from five to nine years of age, and in boys they tend to get better in later adolescence,” said lead researcher Dr. Ann Pakalnis. “In teenage girls, migraines oftentimes make their first presentation around the time of puberty and unfortunately tend to persist into adulthood.”

Data was reviewed from approximately 1300 emergency departments from 2010-2014, which revealed that there in an increase in headaches severe enough for hospital visits during fall season among children 5 to 18 years old.

Most physicians often treat migraines and tension headaches, with tension headaches being less common amongst children, but more severe. Migraines can generally bringing nausea and vomiting, and sensitivity to light, sound and smell. On the other hand, tension headaches tend to feel more like “tightening around the head, and children can continue with their normal day despite the discomfort.”

Schedule changes, extracurricular activities, skipping meals, academic stress, too much caffeine, too much screen time and lack of exercise, were all noted as headache triggers by the research team.

Making sure your children are eating 3 meals day, getting proper sleep at night, staying hydrated and decreasing their stress can be effective in reducing the frequency and severity of headaches.

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