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Children's headaches, anxiety worsened during pandemic, study says

FILE - Photo of a child playing in a playground. (7News/File)
FILE - Photo of a child playing in a playground. (7News/File)
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It turns out all that downtime we had during quarantine at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, exacerbated headaches in children, and worsened anxiety and mood, according to Children’s National Hospital.

The Children’s National Hospital surveyed 107 kids ages 12-17 in their headache clinics between summer 2020 and winter 2021.

7News’ Adrianna Hopkins spoke with a doctor involved in the study who says they think a lot of that is because kids were removed from their environments and routines changed, which in turn spiked stress. He says a year later, there’s a group of kids who saw improvement when quarantine guidelines changed. But there’s a group of kids who’ve worsened. He has some strategies for all parents to address stress in their kids.

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“On a practical day-to-day basis, kids and their parents can look into a lot of resources online, there’s honestly a good number of apps that do bio-feedback or guided relaxation techniques or guided imagery, but having good routines around doing that every day and having some downtime to kind of think about your own mind-body connection, deep breathing techniques, get back to the core of yourself is really helpful,” said Dr. Marc DiSabella.

He said a lot of parents have their kids’ schedules jam-packed with activities and don’t include more than two hours of downtime.

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He says that’s not good for any human and should be built into everyone’s schedule.

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