According to recent studies, if your child complains about headaches, the first few weeks after returning to school, they might actually be telling you the truth not just making up stories to stay home from school.
The Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio said that children complain about headaches during the fall season more so than any other time. That said, if your child complains about suffering from headaches, don’t brush it off as just another back to school anxiety.
Dr. Howard Jacobs, a headache specialist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, worked closely with the study’s researchers. They found that the transition from having summer off and then returning to school increased the number of complaints in more than 30% of kids.
Some are caused by the level of stress brought on by academic pressure, schedules, extracurricular activities, and lack of sleep. Adding to that, their eating habits change drastically, they are sitting for long periods of time, and increased screen time(such as computers, smartphones, and television) is bringing on headaches and, in some cases, migraines.
Seasonal Children’s Headaches
Researchers at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in the Comprehensive Headache Clinic analyzed 1,300 emergency visits from 2010 to 2014. The children were grouped by season and complaints of headaches were particularly high in the fall season with children between the ages of 5 to 18.
They showed that elementary boys between 5 and 9 were more prone to headaches but the symptoms seemed to subside as they aged beyond 9 while girls seemed to suffer from migraines during puberty and could last until adulthood.
Studies have shown, the symptoms will usually pass around Halloween as the body adjusts to new stresses but the actual pain might possibly be signs of other issues. When combined with allergies, stress, and jaw pain, they can trigger headaches by irritating the trigeminal nerve.
This is the largest nerve located in the cranial and is responsible for various sensations in the face. If the headaches are not relieved, Dr. Jacobs urges parents to contact their pediatrician. The last thing you want is having your child suffer for a short period of time but fall back in their studies if the situation can be corrected.
Jacobs also stated that headaches are not caused by your child’s vision but approximately 90% of children will come to him after seeing an optometrist.
If parents suffer from chronic headaches or migraines, children might be prone to the same as headaches and migraines can be hereditary.
Another cause of back-to-school headaches can be caused by dehydration. Most schools do not allow bottled water in class so staying hydrated can be a problem. Jacobs urges that parents see to it their kids are well hydrated, you will know because their urine will be as clear as water.
High school students should drink 64 oz of water each day and elementary children just slightly less. Jacobs went on to say that bottled water before school and after school along with a few stops at the water fountain is just not enough. He recommends that parents get a note from their pediatrician allowing your child to have bottled water in class.