Management Of Headache In The Pediatric Emergency Department

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Headaches are a common complaint among children, with increasing frequency in adolescence. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, more than 3 million Americans seek emergency care every year due to headaches, and one-third of them are attributable to migraines. Headaches have a significant impact on the lives of children and adolescents, resulting in school absence, decreased extracurricular activities, and poor academic achievement. Among patients, the spectrum of pathology varies widely, continually challenging healthcare providers to recognize serious, life-threatening conditions, while judiciously evaluating and treating all patients. This issue reviews the broad differential of primary and secondary headaches in the pediatric emergency department, summarizes effective strategies for diagnosis, and evaluates the current evidence supporting safe, appropriate treatment. As emergency clinicians treat increasingly more medically complex patients, they should be aware of the best current practices to evaluate and treat headaches in the pediatric population.

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