The flu season is at its peak, and more and more people are becoming susceptible to the contagious virus. With this year’s intense new strain and shortage of effective vaccines, preventing the flu is crucial, especially for those who experience chronic migraine. However, for those who contract the virus, here are some things to keep in mind to understand your headache when dealing with the flu.

Headaches as a Symptom of the Flu

The flu has a myriad of symptoms, including vomiting, nausea and headaches. While some may not experience headaches, those who do may become sensitive to light, sound and smell. If a headache is the only symptom or persists after other symptoms dissipate, it is likely not due to a flu or cold but a more specific type of headache, such as migraine or tension headaches.  

Headaches that Intensify with the Flu

For some chronic migraine sufferers, the flu may intensify an already occurring migraine. The mucous membranes lining the nasal and sinus cavities can become inflamed when infected with the flu virus. This results in increased pressure around the eyes and face, which may lead to a magnified headache.

Headaches that Stay After the Flu

Typically, people fully recover from the flu after a week or two with rest and medication. However, lasting symptoms, such as a headache, can indicate serious complications that may require emergency care. If a headache with fever persists, this could be due to a sinus infection. The pain from sinus infections are usually localized in one or more of the sinus areas around the eyes and forehead.

Every migraine is different, translating to different causes which can ultimately lead to a serious medical issue. Tracking and taking note of any headache is crucial in determining a clearer cause. Anyone suffering from migraine, whether as an onset of a virus or by itself, are encouraged to consult with a health care practitioner to discuss their options.