Headache ‘red flags’


  • Systemic symptoms or illness e.g. fever, vomiting, stiff neck, photophobia, pregnancy, cancer, immunocompromised
  • Neurological signs e.g. altered mental state, focal neurological signs, seizures, papilloedema
  • Onset recent or sudden (especially under 40 years old)
  • Other associated symptoms e.g. associated with trauma, wakened during sleep, worsened by Valsalva maneuvers
  • Previous headaches that have been different e.g. headaches becoming more frequent or character changing

These symptoms may require neuroimaging – CT or MRI.

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