Viral infection headache

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What can viral infections cause

Many acute viral infections can cause headache as a response of the immune system combating the viral infection.

Headache may be associated with viral infections that affect

  • The upper respiratory tract (common cold)
  • Brain and its coverings (encephalitis and meningitis) or ear (otitis).

Viral infections can cause both acute and chronic headaches. Sometimes a benign viral infection may set off a cycle of chronic daily headaches that do not have typical features of migraine or tension type headache.

The headache is often associated with chronic fatigue syndrome. The headache improves when the viral infection is treated.

Types of headaches

Ocular headaches

This is a fairly common type of headache, which is usually felt around the eyes (in the orbital region), or more rarely in back of the head (in the occipital region).

It usually sets in after a long, fatiguing day. An eye exam by a specialist is recommended.

Glaucoma is a disease of the eyes, which can cause headaches that may be felt in or around the eyes or the forehead.

  • The intensity of pain may vary from mild to severe.
  • Nausea and vomiting also can accompany the headache. When glaucoma is left untreated can lead to visual loss.

Headaches due to cranial injury

These headaches are caused by Paget's disease of bone. The headaches are burning and piercing, and are accompanied by skull pain.

The patient usually senses heat in the part of the head where the pain is felt.

Traumatic headaches

Headaches experienced following trauma are usually felt as a numb ache which feels like flies swarming in your head.

The headaches are accompanied by fatigue, vertigo, tinnitus, disruptions of vision during reading, the pain intensifies during periods of work, intense concentration and extreme emotion.

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 9 Jan 2018
Medical Author: Dr. med. Diana Hysi