First Time User? Enroll now.
COVID-19: Vaccine information, visitor restrictions, testing, treatment, and additional resources
Home > Health Library > Headaches
Headaches are one of the most common pain-related health problems in both children and adults. You may have a headache along with another minor health problem such as a sore throat, a cold, or a sinus problem.
Most types of headaches usually aren't dangerous. Some headaches may occur again and again, such as:
Common causes of headaches may include:
In rare cases, a headache may be a symptom of a serious illness or injury.
Health Tools help you make wise health decisions or take action to improve your health.
Many things can affect how your body responds to a symptom and what kind of care you may need. These include:
You have answered all the questions. Based on your answers, you may be able to take care of this problem at home.
Neurological symptoms—which may be signs of a problem with the nervous system—can affect many body functions. Symptoms may include:
Pain in adults and older children
You can get dehydrated when you lose a lot of fluids because of problems like vomiting or fever.
Symptoms of dehydration can range from mild to severe. For example:
Many prescription and nonprescription medicines and supplements can cause headaches. A few examples are:
Severe dehydration means:
Moderate dehydration means:
Mild dehydration means:
Symptoms of serious illness may include:
Here are some examples of possible changes in your usual pattern of headaches:
Based on your answers, you may need care right away. The problem is likely to get worse without medical care.
Based on your answers, you may need care soon. The problem probably will not get better without medical care.
Based on your answers, the problem may not improve without medical care.
Based on your answers, you need emergency care.
Call 911 or other emergency services now.
Sometimes people don't want to call 911. They may think that their symptoms aren't serious or that they can just get someone else to drive them. Or they might be concerned about the cost. But based on your answers, the safest and quickest way for you to get the care you need is to call 911 for medical transport to the hospital.
Most of the time, headaches get better or go away with home treatment and don't require a visit to a doctor. Home treatment for headaches can often help reduce how long you have pain and how severe it is. Home treatment may also relieve other symptoms, such as a fever, nausea or vomiting, anxiety, or muscle aches. Start home treatment as soon as you can.
To treat a mild headache:
To reduce how often you get a headache, try:
To treat a child's headache:
Call a doctor if any of the following occur during self-care at home:
You can help your doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared for your appointment.
Current as of:
December 13, 2021
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Current as of: December 13, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2022 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.