What's Going Around | Holiday Headaches

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Holidays are a time for family, friends, and happy memories. But those joyful moments can also be associated with stress. Shopping, travel and other stimuli may trigger or increase your headaches. Over the past week the number of headache suffers visiting Centra Care locations has significantly increased.

Common Causes:

The increase in headaches can’t be attributed to one main cause.  Here are possible reasons your head may be pounding:

  • Outdoor Activities - allergy sufferers beware this time of year
  • Posture  - holding your head in one position for a long time, like at a computer, microscope, or typewriter
  • Alcohol  - it doesn’t take a lot to set off a headache for those who are migraine-prone.  Many chemicals in alcohol including sulfites, tyramine and more can quickly cause you pain.  Alcohol can also cause dehydration, which can also lead to a headache.
  • Colds - sinus pain and pressure can lead to an aching head
  • Sleep  - changes in sleep patterns, whether you’re sleeping in, or staying up late, are known to cause migraines for some.  It’s important to remain on a set sleep schedule
  • Stress  - the upcoming holidays, report cards, the economy -- whatever your stressor may be, it can quickly bring on a tension headache.

These are just some of the causes that can bring on headaches.  Avoiding the trigger can prevent the headaches. You may find relief with over-the-counter medications, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen, as well as lifestyle changes including relaxation and exercise. For migraine sufferers, prescription medicine may be prescribed. 

When to seek immediate attention:

  • Your headache is associated with slurred speech, change in vision, problems moving your arms or legs, loss of balance, confusion, or memory loss.
  • Your headache is accompanied by fever, stiff neck, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Your headache occurs with a head injury.

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