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NORTH TEXAS (CBS11) – If your child is complaining of a headache — new research suggests he or she may not be alone… especially during the beginning of the school year. The study of emergency room visits by Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio found that headaches complaints spiked 31 percent when children went back to school. The reasons might seem obvious but even so, the stress over a prolonged period can lead to serious health issues in the long run.
Claire East, a senior at Forney High School, says her headaches increased after school started two weeks ago. She gets a much severe form of headache called migraine.
“Within the first week of school, I had two already,” she says.
Dr. Tonia Sabo, director of the pediatric headache program at Children’s Health in Dallas has been seeing a lot of patients with “back to school” headaches. Some contributing factors include changing bedtime routines and acedemic stress. But sports activities can also contribute to headaches. “Sometimes you’ll see exercise induced headaches, from the heat,” she told CBS 11 News.
Hormonal changes — particularly in females — combined with dehydration can trigger frequent headaches too. The National Headache Foundation finds about 20 percent of school-age children are prone to headaches. Fifteen percent of them experience tension type headaches — often the result of stress and anxiety — and five percent deal with migraines which are followed by nausea, vomiting and light sensitivity.
Doctors say teens have to learn to manage headaches. “If I feel a migraine coming, I just don’t go to a rock concert, I just know what to do,” East said.
To reduce the risk of headaches, doctors recommend:
— Eat three balanced meals a day.
— Drink enough liquids (but avoid caffeine and sports drinks).
— Get enough sleep.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends nine to 11 hours of sleep a night for children ages 6-13, and eight to 10 hours a night for older teens.
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