Children Need to Be Encouraged to Report Headaches by Receiving Prompt Treatment

Published Online: Tuesday, April 30th, 2019

In this clip from the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, Elizabeth K Rende DNP, RN, CPNP-PC, PMHS-BC, FAANP of Duke Pediatric Neurology shares how adults who do not believe children discourage them from telling anyone they have a headache, and prevent them from getting treatment.

Elizabeth K Rende DNP, RN, CPNP-PC, PMHS-BC, FAANP: Another thing that's really important for children is that they know they can get treatment for their headache regardless of where they are. So, whether they're at home, or in an after school program, or with grandma, or at school, it's important to treat a headache right away. This is a barrier that can be very discouraging for a child because on the outside they look like they feel fine, but on the inside they're really having a bad headache, and if a teacher or school staff person doesn't believe that headache exists, they're not likely to get treatment. Over time, a child just stops reporting that headache because they're either embarassed or nobody wants to believe them. I think that in terms of helping children learn self-management as they get older and they can request a medicine and get prompt treatment, that it's important for people to believe them and to treat the headache quickly, because the ideal time frame is within 15-30 minutes of headache onset, and it can determine whether a headache persists beyond the desired 2 hours or not. 

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