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New School Year May Trigger Uptick in Headaches for Some Students

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Going back to school can be a real headache for some students. Literally.

While emergency room visits for severe headaches remain largely consistent for rest of the year, doctors see an increase in such visits in the fall, according to new research from Nationwide Children's Hospital in Washington, D.C.

Changes in routines associated with the end of summer, a lack of sleep, academic stress, poor hydration, and prolonged screen time may contribute to higher levels of kids' headaches in the fall, doctors speculated.

Ann Pakalnis, attending neurologist and director of the Comprehensive Headache Clinic at Nationwide Children's, drew her conclusions after working with other researchers to complete a retrospective analysis of about 1,300 emergency department visits from 2010-2014.

The doctors recommend limiting stress and being mindful of students' lifestyle changes to help address headaches and migraines.

What could schools do to ensure students make transitions in healthy, balanced ways?


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