Your child’s health: Back to school headaches

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CLEVELAND - It’s back to school and your child complains about having a headache. Is it just a ploy to extend summer vacation? Dr. Jerri Rose, a pediatric emergency physician at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital says maybe not.

“Recently there was a study that was published in the Journal of Pediatrics that actually shows that visits related to headaches are increased in children right around the beginning of the school year," she said.

There can be triggers of stress or tension headaches and Dr. Rose says it has to do with change. “Changes in their sleep schedule, possibly changes in their diet. They are not drinking as much, they are going through a long school day, can definitely can be a time of increased stress."

Changes in school work and homework can also cause headaches for some children as the Henderson siblings of Cleveland found out. "Sixth grade, it's kind of hard. All the long division problems and stuff, it can give you headache sometimes," Damonte Henderson said.

His sister Lamara starts to have problems if she reads for a long period of time. "I don't like when I am reading, because when I read and when I am done with the books sometimes -- I don't know, I don't know how it happens but my head be starting to hurt," she said.

Dr. Rose says there can be some simple ways to prevent headaches. It can start with getting enough rest -- at least eight hours of sleep, sometimes more for younger children. "Start to go to bed early than usual to get a full night sleep; making sure that kids are staying hydrated and drinking plenty of fluids and eating a healthy diet,” she suggested.

Dr. Rose says any sudden or severe headache that keeps a child from their daily routine warrants a trip to the pediatrician. "Any headache that would be associated with a change in the child's function meaning their speech, their ability to walk or weakness that's something that really needs to be checked out right away,” she said.

But, Dr. Rose said most headaches are not that severe and can be treated with an over-the- counter pain reliever like acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

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