Headaches are very common with viral illness, especially with colds. Unexplained headaches can occur in children, just as they do in adults. They usually pass in a few hours or last up to a day.
Give acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain relief. Before administering medication, please review our medication dosing guides.
Food May Help:
Give fruit juice or food if your child is hungry or hasn’t eaten in more than 4 hours.
Have your child lie down in a dark, quiet place and relax until feeling better.
Cold Pack for Pain:
Apply a cold, wet washcloth or cold pack to the forehead for 20 minutes.
Stretch Neck Muscles:
Stretch and massage any tight neck muscles.
If your child’s doctor has prescribed a specific medication for migraine, give it as soon as the migraine starts. If not, ibuprofen is the best over-the-counter drug for migraines.
Headaches usually resolve in 2 or 3 days. Migraine headaches in particular take about 2 to 6 hours to go away.
When to Call the Office
- Headache becomes severe.
- Vomiting occurs.
- Unexplained headache lasts over 24 hours.
- Headache with a viral illness lasts over 3 days.
- Your child becomes worse.
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The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.