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One in six people suffers headaches every week

ALMOST one in six people experiences a headache once a week or more.

New research showed that over a quarter of people have had to put off daily tasks due to a headache and 15pc had to spend a day in bed.

Of those who suffer weekly headaches, a fifth describe their level of pain as either 'bad' or 'very bad', or at a level where they feel they cannot cope.

Pharmacist Jean McAleenan said that a number of different things can cause headaches.

"Less than six hours' sleep can lead to more severe, frequent headaches," she said.

However, some find that too much sleep can cause them. "This may be because stress hormone levels drop, which causes a rapid release of neurotransmitters, the brain's chemical messengers."

In addition, she said lack of fluids will lead to dehydration which may lead to a headache.

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Hot weather and physical activity further impacts on hydration levels, so people should adjust fluid levels to compensate.

Other things that can trigger headaches are skipping meals, certain foods, alcohol, especially darker-coloured drinks such as red wine and beer, and stress.

Headache Awareness Week is set to run from today until next Saturday.

Research carried out by Nurofen showed that 3.2m people in Ireland get headaches regularly.

Meanwhile, the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) said that 90pc of schoolchildren get headaches, but there are tips that can help prevent them.

Kathy Maher, vice-president of the IPU said: "Headaches in children can be caused by a number of triggers. These include tension, stress, irregular eating and sleep patterns, dehydration and eating certain foods and drinks."

hnews@herald.ie


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