Making Your Teen's School Year Manageable with Migraines and Headache Disorders

Nancy Harris Bonk Health Guide
  • Our daughter's freshman year of college began last Monday, and our son begins eighth grade on Tuesday. With long lists in hand for both, we made plenty of shopping trips. We have almost everything covered for both teens - supplies, books and dorm room necessities included.


    What needs attention is their MAPP, Migraine Action Plan and Pack. Both our teens are Migraineurs.  Sam suffers more than Sarah but doesn't get them frequently enough to be need a Migraine prevention regime. His Migraines are often triggered by dehydration, which seems to be an issue at the beginning of the school year along with changes in his sleeping patterns, chocolate and nitrites from too much lunch meat. Now, if he eats chocolate one day, he is fine. But, if he has a turkey sandwich for lunch, hot dogs for dinner, goes to bed too late a few days in a row, he is setting himself up for a Migraine attack. 

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    • Sam's MAPP will start with MyMigraineConnection's new forms for his teachers and nurse. These forms can be found at the end of Teri Robert's Back to School With Migraines and Headaches article. These are wonderful tools for parents, students, teachers and staff that clearly identify what needs to be done during a student's Migraine attack.
    • The next thing is to make sure he takes a refillable water bottle to school with him. This will ensure that he stays hydrated throughout the day.
    • We will also need to pay careful attention to the lunch menu at school. Certain items on the menu are not bad, and Sam enjoys buying his lunch from time to time. But being more vigilant about what I serve at home and keeping track of what is offered at school will really help with the nitrites issue. He will be 14 in a few months, so he is quite able to take a more active role in his Migraine plan and what he eats for lunch.
    • I will make sure the nurse has acetaminophen on hand for him. In addition, he will take two with him and keep them in his pocket in case he can't get to the nurse. I know some districts have varing degrees of zero tolerance policies on medication, but after doing some research on our district's policies, I find they are not clear about this situation. 
    • Sarah's Migraine attacks occur on a very intermittent basis and are sometimes triggered by extreme loud noise and bright light. Thankfully for her, she responds quickly and effectively to ibuprofen. For her, the MAPP is easy and will include ibuprofen in her dorm, purse, backpack.  Maybe a pill case to carry in her jeans.   
    • A wash cloth will be handy for a cool compress to her forehead. She has only needed this on a few occasions. 

    I think we are now all ready for school. How about you? Have you filled out your forms for the teachers and nurse? Is that bottle of water filled and chilling in the refrigerator for the morning so he won't get dehydrated? Let me know how you all make out with your children going back to school, ok?


    For Grandma


Published On: September 04, 2008