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Q&A: Headache stars

| Wellness | Healthy You | Kids Health

Close up of face of an Asian girl resting her head in the lap of a woman

My daughter sometimes gets dizzy and says she sees stars. What is causing this and what can I do to help?

When no other symptoms are present, dizziness and seeing stars are often signs of a migraine headache. Parents tend to associate most of their children’s headaches with a cold or flu, but studies indicate that migraines and tension headaches are quite common in children and adolescents. Other symptoms of migraines include throbbing pain in the head; stomachaches; nausea; and sensitivity to light, noise, and smells.

If you suspect that your child is having a migraine, help ease the pain by having her rest quietly in a dark room and relax. Often children with migraines will feel better with rest and sleep.

Seek immediate medical care if your child has headaches after a recent fall or blow to the head or if your child can’t keep food or liquids down. If your child’s headaches last longer than one or two days, wake her from sleep, or get worse, consider having your child evaluated by a specialist if the symptoms continue.

portrait of Seema J. Afridi MD

Seema J. Afridi MD

Pediatric Neurology
Dr. Afridi is a pediatric neurologist with special medical interests in epilepsy, headaches in children and pregnant women, movement disorders, seizure disorders, concussions, syncope, tic disorders and developmental delays. She came to Bellingham after a one-year clinical neurophysiology fellowship at the University of Washington and Seattle Children's Hospital. Throughout her career, Dr. Afridi has earned several research awards and has authored many abstracts and publications, but her favorite part of her work is the patients and her coworkers. If you asked her what her hobby is, she'll tell you, "Spending time with my family on the weekends." Her practice philosophy is to treat the patient according to standard care, but also to look at the situation from the perspective of the patient's parents so that all questions and concerns are addressed. She is a tremendous resource for patients, families and primary care providers alike.