Headache is a frequent symptom in children and adolescents, many cases not being seen by doctors. Studies have shown that prevalence increases from preschool age (3-8%) to mid-adolescence (57-82%). One of the recommendations of a recent World Health Organization report 'Headache Disorders and Public Health' was 'to raise the priority of effective treatment and prevention of headache in children'.
Headache is one of the main reasons children miss school. Missing school can affect a child's overall education and ability to 'fit in' to school environment and curriculum. In most cases the headache can be diagnosed quickly and treated effectively. Avoiding missed meals, dehydration, and tiredness or over excitement, common headache triggers, may prevent some headaches.
Some headaches can cause significant pain and disability. Most headaches are benign but the seriousness of the causes of some headaches gives the symptom a feared reputation. Headache in association with fever, significant drowsiness or other symptoms may be a sign of a serious illness and should be referred to a doctor.
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