Why Children with Migraine Often Need Special Care

Patient Expert

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Even young children can have severe Migraines, even children who are too young to talk and describe to their parents what's wrong.

To people on the outside looking in, it can seem that parents of children with Migraine disease may be "overprotective" or "smothering." In reality, these parents are usually just taking good care of their child Migraineur, and the parents' actions and behaviors are entirely necessary. Here are a few examples of what parents of children with Migraines must handle:

  • Parents may need to limit their child's physical activities because exercise and other forms of exertion can trigger a Migraine attack in some Migraineurs (people who have Migraine disease.)"
  • Some people must take daily preventive medications to reduce the frequency and severity of their Migraine attacks. If the child or parent forget a dose of this medication, it may be necessary to return home to get it. The consequences of missing even a single dose can be devastating for some Migraineurs.
  • Parents of children with Migraines may come take their children home when they get a Migraine. Some Migraineurs must retreat to a very quiet, very dark room during a Migraine. Some must sleep before the Migraine will stop.

To people whose children don't have Migraine disease, these examples may look like "coddling" the child or being "overprotective" or "smothering." They are NOT.

Recently, one of our forum members shared a disturbing experience with us. She was running late, and forgot to give her daughter her preventive medication before the child went to school. The medication has a half-life of only five to seven hours, so missing a dose has the potential to derail her preventive regimen. This could set her back and cause her Migraines to increase in both frequency and intensity until the medication regimen stabilizes again. Thus, our forum member took her daughter's medication and went to the elementary school office to get it to her.

While she was in the school office, she encountered a classmate's parent. The other parent accused her of being "suffocating," commenting that she should relax, "one dose is not going to kill her."

I read that post with tears in my eyes for several reasons:

  • When I was in elementary school, doctors didn't understand much about Migraines. They certainly didn't understand that there were daily medications that could prevent them. It's such wonderful progress that we have better treatments available. This makes me teary because it makes me think about how much better things can be for my three grandchildren with Migraines.
  • I was so very proud of our forum member for being well educated about Migraine disease and knowing her daughter needed her medication.
  • I was angry at the other parent for being so judgmental and pretty much clueless. Rather than judging our member to be "suffocating" her daughter and commenting that one dose

If your child has Migraines, and you're encountering issues with other people "just not getting it," I've written a letter you can print and give to people. I hope it will help make things easier for you and your children. You can find the letter Download the letter.

We also have forms that can be filled out and given to your child's teacher and / or school nurse to let them know what care your child needs when a Migraine occurs. Download the forms.

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