Migraines and Mommies

I remember like it was yesterday – head buried under my arms as I lay my head on my desk. It was third period government class and I wanted to curl up in a dark, silent room. Why was everyone so loud? Were the fluorescent tube lights especially bright that day? A pounding on the left side of my head was excruciating. It’s always the left side.

I’m no stranger to migraines. They are hereditary in my family and my poor mother knew one of her children was bound to get them.  I was the luck of the draw…except, not so lucky at all.  But aren’t migraines an “adult” illness? About 1 out of every 20 kids, or about 8 million children in the United States, gets migraines. I started getting them as a child, and I know how debilitating they can be without proper diagnosis.

I can understand how kids with migraines do worse in school – because they can’t pay attention to anything but their headache! Knowing that one of my kids is more than likely to get migraines gives me a headache just thinking about it.  After reading a recent survey, I realize that taking action sooner rather than later may be imperative to my kids and their education. Their success in school depends not only on an accurate diagnosis and treatment, but also on understanding responses from parents, teachers and school health care experts.

KidsHealth provides the following tips on preventing pediatric migraines:

  • Make sure you have medicine on hand in case a child’s migraine starts at school or when you’re away from home.
  • Stay away from migraine triggers. Certain foods like chocolate, cheese or caffeinated drinks are known to trigger migraines. A healthy diet free of nitrates and MSG should help.
  • Take breaks from activities that seem to trigger your child’s migraines, such as using the computer for a long time or listening to loud music.
  • Regular exercise can also reduce stress and make them feel better.

The more you understand migraines, the better prepared you can be to help your child.

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