Yes, children can get headaches - more than 25% of children in the United States between the ages of 12 and 13 experience headaches at least once a week. Before puberty (when hormones haven't yet kicked in), headaches are far more common in boys than girls.
Never ignore a child who comes to you complaining, "My head hurts!" Pain can be triggered by certain factors such as food. If your child is prone to migraines or chronic headaches, here's a list of things you shouldn't buy at the grocery store:
- processed meats: hot dogs, sausages, and lunch meats (bologna, salami)
- caffeine products: cola drinks, caffeinated sodas, and coffee
- products that contain MSG (monosodium glutamate): frozen foods, canned meat, prepared sauces, bouillon, certain Chinese foods
- old or aged cheeses
It may help to keep a "headache diary" with your child to record events surrounding the headaches. This way, you can figure out the root cause of the problem and take action to prevent future head pain. See a doctor if your child's headaches worsen or become more frequent.
If your child is experiencing a headache, try non-medication treatments first, like rest, fresh air, or putting a cold moist towel to the forehead. If you feel that medication is needed, ask your doctor or pharmacist to recommend the right medication and the right dose for your child. If at any time the headaches worsen or increase in frequency, make an appointment with your doctor.