Tips For Parents And Caregivers of Young Migraine Sufferers
Migraines affect approximately 10% of all school children and the symptoms they experience can be very different from those of adult migraines. Dealing with migraines can be physically and emotionally difficult for young children as well as for their parents/ caregivers. Here are some tips for helping young children through their migraines.
1) Pay attention for signs of a migraine attack with your child. The symptoms may include stomach aches, yawning, tiredness, food cravings, confusion, pale complexion or complaints of muscle pains. Talk to them about migraine aura and ask them if they experience any visual auras such as zig zag lines or spots.
2) Help them understand what they should do when a migraine hits:
When they are home
Make sure they tell you or another caregiver that they are feeling sick
Stop what they are doing and rest
Eat a little snack
Take a nap
When they are at school
They should tell the teacher right away and go to the nurse’s office
Take some rest in the nurse’s room
Have the teacher call you or another care giver to pick them up
Drink water and have a snack
3) Make sure your child is always well hydrated. Dehydration can be a common trigger for migraines amongst children and drinking at least 1-2 litres of water each day can help prevent a migraine.
4) Limit your child’s screen time (TV, iPads, computers) to prevent migraines. They should take breaks after 45 minutes of TV or use the computer to prevent eye strain which can potentially trigger a migraine.
5) Make sure your child’s teachers at school are aware of his/her migraines and let them know the medication your child uses. You should also make sure the school alerts you when your child has a migraine and needs to be taken home.
6) Help your child to figure out what could be triggering their migraines by recording their attacks in a migraine diary. These records can also be helpful when you take your child to the doctor/ neurologist.
7) Make sure your child gets sufficient exercise and some fresh air. An active lifestyle can help prevent migraines and help them establish healthy habits for the future as well.
8) Limit your child’s sugary snacks and drinks intake as they can often trigger migraines.
9) Lack of sleep can be a common trigger for young children. Make sure your child gets enough sleep of about 8-10 hours a night.
10) Migraines can affect your child socially as well. Often children have to miss school due to migraines and may have difficulty making friends because they feel different. Help your child express their feelings about their illness by talking to him/her and how they can explain it to other children in school.