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Munich - Small children may not yet know how to describe pain and cannot easily tell parents they have a headache.
Professor Berthold Koletzko from the Child Health Foundation in Munich says children cannot provide even semi-reliable information about headaches until they are five years of age.
With smaller children, parents should watch for them putting their hands on their head or over their eyes.
Conspicuous wrinkling of eyebrows or repeated ruffling of hair are also possible signs of a headache. Babies with headaches are often irritable, restless and extremely touch-sensitive, added Koletzko.
In order to determine the reason, the foundation advises a thorough examination of the child, a detailed questioning of the parents and a headache calendar. Parents and the child - if the child can read and write on his or her own - should independently take note of when, how strong and how long the headaches occur for a four- to six-week stretch.
In addition, Koletzko said it makes sense to take note of attendant symptoms, any triggers and any medication taken.
Possible headache triggers are feverish illnesses, possible infections such as ear or throat infections, concussion or too much sun. But Koletzko said a hardly visible visual defect such as squinting could be the cause as well.
Parents should also take into account any mental reasons such as stress in school or within the family.
To avoid headaches, children should maintain a healthy lifestyle, including regular meals, a balanced diet, a consistent sleeping pattern, lots of fresh air and exercise as well as less time in front of the television or computer.
The foundation also found that it is helpful if the child learns relaxation techniques. - Sapa-dpa