Food poisoning can cause a headache. The symptoms of food poisoning tend to be mild, but these can be confused with other conditions.
In most cases, food poisoning symptoms resolve after a few days. In severe cases, food poisoning can lead to death.
Other causes of headache
- Head injury
- Seizure or convulsion
- Tension headache
- Tension, muscle, or stress headache
- TIA (transient ischemic attack)
- Tension or migraine with symptoms of fever or stiff neck and blurred vision
- Tension or migraine with symptoms of tingling or numbness in the face, lips, or tongue
How is a headache diagnosed?
Your doctor will start by asking you about your symptoms and medical history. They will also ask about any other conditions you may be having.
They may also use the criteria from the International Classification of Headache Disorders to help them diagnose your condition.
The doctor will examine you and ask you to describe your symptoms in as much detail as possible. They may also ask you to perform certain tasks. These tasks may help them determine the underlying cause of your headache.
For example, they may ask you to move your eyes or try to see an object. This helps to determine which of your cranial nerves are involved.
They may also order imaging tests, such as CT or MRI scans. This can give them more details about your brain and other parts of your body. The results of these tests can help your doctor determine what’s causing your headache.
How is a headache treated?
Treatment depends on the cause of your headache.
If the cause is not a serious condition, you may not need to do much to feel better. You can take pain relievers like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) to treat mild to moderate pain.
If your headache is caused by a serious condition, you may need to see a doctor. They may prescribe pain relievers or other medications to help you feel better.
Your doctor may also recommend changes in your diet. This can help to treat headaches.
For example, you may need to avoid foods that are hard to digest. This can help to ease the pain in your abdomen and stomach.
You may also need to try to reduce the amount of time you spend in front of a computer or other screen. This can stop your body from experiencing stress.
You may also need to avoid sleeping for too long at night. This can help to reduce stress and relieve your symptoms.
If a headache is caused by a serious condition, your doctor may recommend that you take over-the-counter pain relievers or anti-inflammatories.
If your headache is caused by a minor condition, you may not need any medications.
However, it’s important to take it easy when you first start to feel worse. This is because your body also needs time to adjust to the changes.
When should I call my doctor?
If you have a headache for more than 10 days, you should call your doctor. This is especially true if you also have other symptoms, such as:
- Feeling unwell
- Changes in your vision
- Weakness or numbness in your face or limbs
- Shortness of breath
- A stiff neck
- Blurred vision
You should also call your doctor if you have a headache after you’ve had one of these symptoms for more than 24 hours.
How can I prevent a headache?
If you have a headache, it’s important to avoid the things that make you feel sick.
For example, you should avoid:
- Eating or drinking anything that makes you feel sick
- Taking aspirin (Bayer) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Having a cold, flu, or other infection
- Standing or sitting for too long
- Having a headache after you’ve had one of these symptoms for more than 24 hours
- Having a headache after you’ve had one of these symptoms for more than 10 days
What can I do to relieve my headache?
You may find that certain home remedies help to ease your headache. These home remedies include:
- Drinking water
- Taking over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil)
- Applying a cold compress or heating pad to your forehead
- Taking over-the counter pain relievers, such as aspirin (Bayer) or ibuprofen (Advil)
- Drinking hot tea or coffee
- Taking a mild sedative, such as valerian root or chamomile tea
If you have a headache caused by a serious condition, you may find that certain prescription medications can help to ease your symptoms. These drugs include:
- Tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline (Elavil)
- Anticonvulsants, such as gabapentin (Neurontin) or pregabalin (Lyrica)
- Beta blockers, such as propranolol (Inderal)
- Ergot alkaloids, such as dihydroergotamine (DHE)
- Antihistamines, such as azelastine (Astelin) or cetirizine (Zyrtec)
What is the outlook for people with a headache?
The outlook for a headache varies based on its cause.
Mild to moderate cases of a headache may not require any treatment. This is especially the case if your headache is caused by a minor condition.
However, you should seek medical attention if your headache is caused by a serious condition. This is especially the case if you have a headache after you’ve had one of these symptoms for more than 24 hours.
You should also seek medical attention if your headache is caused by a minor condition and you also have any of the symptoms listed above.
You should also seek medical attention if you have a headache after you’ve had one of these symptoms for more than 10 days.
Headaches are common. They can vary in severity and cause a range of symptoms.
You can help to relieve your symptoms by taking the following steps:
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