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Most headaches will go away on their own and aren’t a sign of something more serious.

Treating headaches at home

You can simply wait until the headache goes away or take painkillers like paracetamol or ibuprofen. You can buy these over the counter.

Headaches can last between 30 minutes and several hours.

It will also help to:

  • drink plenty of water
  • eat regular meals
  • sleep the same amount of hours every night

Many things cause headaches, for example:

  • colds and flu
  • bad posture
  • stress
  • periods or menopause (hormone headaches)

When to see a GP:

  • you have a bad throbbing pain at the front or side of your head
  • you feel sick, vomit and find light or noise painful
  • you see flashing lights when the headache starts — this might be migraine or cluster headaches

Call 999 or go to A&E now if:

You hurt your head badly, eg from a fall or accident.

It feels like the worst pain you’ve ever had and came on suddenly.

You have a severe headache and:

  • sudden problems speaking, remembering things
  • blurred vision
  • are feeling drowsy, confused
  • high fever
  • stiff neck
  • rash
  • redness in one of your eyes
  • jaw pain when chewing

Still not sure what to do?

If you need help deciding what to do next, call 111.