Although uncomfortable and temporarily disabling, most headaches are not associated with serious illness.


Infections such as influenza, sinus infection, ear infection; neck muscle strain, eye muscle strain; exposure to noise; metabolic changes such as hunger, thirst, fatigue, menstruation, lack of sleep, heat exhaustion; tension from stressful situations; foods, allergies, medications; high blood pressure; head trauma, alcohol use.


Relieve acute pain and remove any obvious causes. Limited use of non-prescription pain relievers. Drink plenty of fluids, especially if you have a fever or hangover. Rest and quiet. Treat any allergy or infection. Massage, hot and cold compresses for local muscle pains.

When to consult a healthcare provider

Headaches can be serious. If you have an unusually severe headache, a headache that does not go away, frequent headaches, or a headache accompanied by other symptoms, see a healthcare provider. To make an appointment at Student Health, call 319-335-8394.


As much as possible, avoid the offending activity or substance. Get plenty of rest, eat a balanced diet, and avoid situations that cause stress.