Headache with signs of serious illness

When a headache, vomiting, fever, or a seizure occurs along with another serious illness, immediate medical care is needed. Signs of serious illness include:

  • A sudden, severe headache.
  • Confusion or extreme irritability.
  • Extreme sleepiness.
  • New and different skin rash or severe bruises that appear without an injury.
  • New double vision, blurred vision, or blind spots.
  • Persistent nausea or vomiting.
  • Rapid, difficult breathing.
  • Severe neck stiffness or pain.
  • Severe sensitivity to light (photophobia).
  • Severe pain.
  • Unsteadiness that prevents standing or walking (ataxia or vertigo).

Although uncommon, a headache with signs of a serious illness may be a sign of:

Call your doctor for an evaluation if you have a headache and other signs of a serious illness.

Last Updated: July 9, 2008

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