How to help your child during a migraine attack
Does children have a migraine? Of course! More than half of adults indicate that their first attack occurred before the age of 15. At the same time, many children start migraines before the age of 5 years. In fact, this disease occurs in children more often than is commonly believed.
Migraine in children generally proceeds in the same way as in adults. However, in children, pain is more often bilateral. Do not forget about the forerunners of migraine, which we talked about in the second chapter.
If your child occasionally has vomiting or abdominal pain that cannot be explained, this could be the beginning of a migraine. Be sure to mention these symptoms at the doctor’s office.
If a child complains of a headache, try to calm him down, say that everything will be over soon. But if this happens for the first time or the headache is different from the usual one (for example, more severe), start looking for its cause.
You can never think that a child simply wants to attract attention or to get the opportunity not to do something. Seeing your distrust and irritation, the child is experiencing stress, and it is harder for him to cope with the pain.
You can not ignore the new headache. You know your child better than teachers or friends. Headache can be frightening for him, and in some cases (although very rarely) – dangerous to health.
How to determine that your child may have a migraine? In children, during a headache (often one-sided), mood most often deteriorates, they experience nausea. Sometimes an attack can be preceded by an aura.
If the headache has occurred for the first time or the seizures started recently, and also if the headache has changed its character (it has become more intense, vomiting, visual impairment has appeared), be sure to contact your pediatrician or, even better, to a children’s neurologist. Be prepared to provide the following information to your doctor:
• How long does a headache last?
• How often does it happen?
• Have you noticed what causes the seizures?
• Where is pain located and what is its nature?
• Are there any accompanying symptoms (eg, increased sensitivity to light, nausea)?
• How can I stop an attack?
If the headache often worries the child, start keeping a diary (see annex). It is useful at the doctor. If you have results of any surveys, also take them with you.
How to treat migraine in children?
Please remember that children cannot be treated the same way as adults. Most drugs (both painkillers and those intended for the prevention of migraine) have not been tested in children, and some are generally prohibited.
Be careful. For example, children under 12 years old should not be given aspirin. Instead, Szechaminofen (Paracetamol, Panadol) or Ibuprofen (Nurofen, Instant) is used for anesthesia. To reduce nausea, you can take metoclopramide (Reglan, raglan).
Never give children medications simply because they are usually used by you!
All recommendations regarding the treatment of migraine in a child, as well as prescriptions should be given by a doctor. Discuss any medications you give or plan to give to your child with a pediatrician or pediatric neurologist.
Inform teachers and the school nurse that your child has a migraine. This will help him avoid misunderstandings on the part of the staff and other students. In addition, migraine drugs work better if taken at the very beginning of the attack. If your child has intense migraine attacks, accompanied by nausea or vomiting, medication is not enough. It will be good if a teacher or nurse tells him in time that it is time to take a pill. However, sometimes the child is enough to rest in a dark quiet room, and for this you need to enlist the support of a nurse.
Do not focus the child’s attention on headaches: no need to make him disabled. Try not to create such situations, thanks to which it will become clear to the child that he gets your undivided attention and may not be engaged in undesirable things (not doing homework, not helping around the house) only if he has a headache. Tell him that the headache is safe and will pass quickly, that you just need to take medicine or lie down for some time in silence – and soon he will be able to play again and do ordinary things.
So, during a migraine attack in a child:
• Try to avoid taking medication;
• provide an opportunity to rest in a dark quiet room;
• give the child something to eat (something sweet can be) and drink;
• If necessary, give half or a whole tablet of paracetamol or ibuprofen. These drugs also exist as suspensions;
• if the seizure does turn around and there is severe nausea, it is possible to give cerrucal;
• if he is older than 12 years, it is possible to give combined analgesics (Pentalgin, caffetine);
• imigran in the form of a spray – the only triptan that is approved for use in children.
If you have to give your child painkillers more than twice a week, discuss the possibility of preventing migraine.nor with a pediatrician. In children, the attacks become more frequent under the influence of the same provocateurs as in adults (they are described in detail in Chapter 3). In the case of frequent attacks, try to identify headache triggers affecting the child. Following the following recommendations will help your child: • Make every effort to improve sleep patterns: it is advisable for your child to go to bed and get up at about the same time every day, including weekends • Organize your child’s ability to play sports, fitness, gymnastics: they reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood and allow you to control weight. • A child should eat regularly and not skip meals , because a decrease in blood glucose levels can lead to the development of a migraine attack. Try to make your child eat more fresh foods that do not contain preservatives and chemical additives. • Try to reduce the amount of caffeine a child receives. It is advisable that he drink no more than one cup of carbonated drinks per day. • Make sure that the child drinks enough, especially in the summer. • If migraine attacks still remain frequent, focus on non-drug approaches. Biofeedback techniques and relaxation techniques can be very useful. To reduce the number of seizures, the child, if necessary, can take magnesium preparations, coenzyme Q10. If the pain is frequent and the child has to take painkillers for more than 10 days a month, consult a doctor to deal with this situation in time. Some drugs for reducing migraine, which are used in adults, are also allowed for children. As a parent you must perform a very important function – Learn yourself and teach your child how to manage a migraine. A migraine is a benign disease that should not become a serious problem for your child.