It’s perfectly normal to have a headache every once in a while. However, there are a few times when you need to be careful. That headache you’re nursing could be a sign that something else is very wrong.
What’s a Normal Headache?
Generally, headaches can be caused by several triggers such as what you’ve eaten, the flu, stressful situations, or an allergic reaction. These headaches may not last longer than 24 hours and can be taken care of with some rest or over-the-counter medication. Sometimes, doing something simple such as drinking some water or resting your eyes for a brief period may help. In most cases, a normal headache won’t disrupt your life for too long.
Signs That Something May Be Wrong
If you’re having a headache and you’re not sure what might be cause for concern, look out for any of the symptoms listed below.
- If the headache was sudden and intense
- Having a stiff neck
- A fever that is higher 102 to 104°F
- Nausea or vomiting
- Fainting or dizziness
- A sudden nosebleed
- Sudden muscle or joint pain
- Having trouble walking
- Persistent pressure in the back of the head
- Slurred or garbled speech
- Weakness or droopiness on one side of the body
Health professionals also recommend being concerned if you’re over the age of 50, are immunocompromised, or are on blood thinners for your medical condition. Even if you haven’t experienced any of the symptoms listed above, it’s advisable to see a doctor if your headaches have been getting worse over time.
When to See a Doctor
In some cases, a severe headache can be a sign of an emergency situation that needs immediate attention from a physician. These conditions include:
- Infections in the mouth, blood, spine, or brain
- A stroke
- Severe dehydration
- A head injury or concussion
- A brain injury or brain hemorrhage
- High blood pressure
- Certain types of cancer