Thursday December 5, 2013
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is organizing National Influenza Vaccination Week from Dec 8th-14th to promote the importance of obtaining the flu vaccine, which they recommend for all individuals 6 months and older.
Remember, two common symptoms of influenza are headache and fever. However, do not assume that a "headache and fever" combination is automatically the flu, even during "flu season." Other serious medical conditions, like meningitis, can also cause a headache and fever with no other clues. Your doctor can help differentiate between various medical causes of headache and fever.
If you have not done so, please receive the flu vaccine (assuming no contraindications). You can read more about the vaccine and influenza on the CDC's webpage. Please also read more in my article, "Headache and Fever: Is This a Sign of Infection?", to learn about additional causes of headache and fever.
One last tidbit, please remember to wash your hands and avoud touching your face. This will help prevent the spread of influenza and other viruses. As always, be well, and please share comments on your experience with influenza (especially what your headache felt like) if comfortable.
Tuesday November 26, 2013
I never empathized more with migraineurs than I did when I experienced my first trimester of pregnancy. The nausea that overtook those first several weeks of seemingly glorious pregnancy was overwhelming. I was stuck in a vicious cycle of wanting to eat, to curb that "unsettling, queasy gut sensation" and then wanting to bring up everything I ate, to again ease that "unsettling, queasy gut sensation." I also suffered from headaches, mainly tension-type, and a couple of migraines as well. Migraines tend to improve in the second and third trimesters but can initially worsen or become more frequent, along with tension-type headaches in the first trimester.
Whenever I suffer a personal ailment, I always think of my brave patients, some of who suffer from headaches with or without nausea on a frequent basis. Headache and nausea is a brutal combination and makes migraine therapy that much more difficult. What are your experiences with nausea and migraines? What treatment works best for you? Which is worse, your head pain or the nausea? Please share your story.
Additionally, headaches during pregnancy, is an interesting topic, as there are headache disorders that are unique or more common during pregnancy. Did you suffer from new headaches during pregnancy? If you already have a headache disorders, did they worsen or improve during your pregnancy? Please share your story.
Tuesday November 26, 2013
Have you ever wondered exactly what you can expect when you see a neurologist or headache specialist or even your family physician regarding your headache diagnosis? You may have done hours of self-diagnosis, pouring over the internet, books, and/or the advice of friends and family. You may find your doctor visit to be exactly what you researched or completely different! Even as a physician myself, I am humbly amazed at the interesting, thoughtful questions that other physicians ask of me or my patients that I missed or did not think of.
So what exactly is your headache? Find out the systematic manner in which your doctor will likely inquire about your headache symptoms. This is a great way to prepare for your visit so as to maximize your consultation.
Please share interesting questions your doctor may have asked you regarding your headache symptoms that you found particularly helpful.
Monday November 25, 2013
If you have ever experienced a severe, explosive "clap of thunder" in your head or heard about someone who has, than it is important to read further about what exactly a thunderclap headache (TCH) is. Not until your doctor exhaustively rules out more alarming causes of this sudden, electrifying and "worst headache of your life" phenomenon can you term the headache a primary thunderclap headache, a benign, rare headache disorder of unknown cause.
All in all, I am not trying to be an alarmist, but if you are experiencing the worst headache of your life, than please go to your nearest emergency room for further evaluation. Experiencing a "clap of thunder" in your head can be very dangerous and not something you should ignore, just like you would not ignore the sudden onset of chest pain or difficulty breathing. Take action. Be proactive. Listen to your gut. A new, horrific pain (anywhere!) should be be ignored.
Have you ever had a thunderclap headache? If comfortable, please share your story so we can learn from your experience.