Most headaches aren’t serious and can be treated easily. People
get them for no particular reason, and sometimes there is a
Common causes include: tiredness, dehydration, stress, an
illness such as flu, or exposure to extremely hot or cold
Watch our video - Headaches
What to look for - Headaches
Headaches can also be a sign of more serious conditions, such as
or the result of a head injury.
If someone has other symptoms, or their headache started after a
bad blow to the head, then tell them to see a doctor straight
What you need to do - Headaches
If someone has a headache, help them to sit or lie down
somewhere quiet, and give them something cold to hold against their
head. This could be a bag of peas, or ice wrapped in a cloth, or a
cold compress if you have one (apply for no more than ten
• For adults, you can suggest they take the recommended
dose of pain killers, like paracetamol tablets.
• For children, you can give them the recommended dose of
• If they have other symptoms, such as fever, vomiting,
loss of responsiveness, a stiff neck, or sensitivity to light, then
tell them to see a health care professional as soon as
• If they’ve got the headache after a head injury they
should also see a health care professional straight away.
• If the headache is not settling and you are concerned,
advise them to seek help.