Studies show 91% of people who suffer from migraines miss work or cannot function during a headache attack. This means either time off from work or inefficient employees, causing companies millions of dollars in lost work time. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 in 20 adults has a headache every day. Migraines, as well as other types of headaches, can be caused by a variety of conditions.
Having a trained medical professional assess the symptoms of your employees’ headaches will lead to a faster recovery and a better quality of life. Speaking with a nurse or doctor may also lead to catching a more serious condition, such as a stroke, and getting the employee help immediately can prevent long-term damage or death (read this story about our CEO’s stroke). Continuwell provides access around the clock to nurses and physicians who can consult, assess, or prescribe medications. As part of the Continuwell mobile application, your company can also send employees articles about symptoms to watch out for and push notifications reminding them to send a message to the nurses if a symptom arises.
Headaches Due to Serious Causes
While most headaches are temporary and are easily treated once the trigger is determined, employees should always be aware that headaches can be a warning sign of a serious condition. These conditions include brain aneurysms (a bulge in an artery in your brain); encephalitis (brain inflammation); hematoma’s (blood vessel ruptures in the brain), and brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM) (a tangle of blood vessels in the brain). Symptoms of these conditions include sudden, extreme headaches, vomiting, stiff neck, blurred or double vision, and neurologic symptoms, such as weakness or numbness of the arms or legs, confusion, and loss of consciousness. Because these symptoms can be sudden, severe, and without a known cause, your employees should know that they can speak to a Continuwell nurse anytime for free. Nurses will let them know if they need to seek medical attention immediately.
When a Continuwell member calls with a complaint of a headache, our nurses must first rule out any serious causes. Continuwell nurses use specialized evidence-based guidelines to assist in making sure the patient reaches the right level of care at the right time. Our nurses ask a series of questions to elicit responses from the patient to determine the severity of the headache.
Questions asked might include:
- When did it start?
- Where does it hurt?
- Can you rate it for me?
- What makes it better/worse?
- Have you ever had a headache like this before?
- What chronic illnesses do you have?
- What medications do you take daily and what have you taken for the headache so far?
Once the most severe symptoms are eliminated as the probable cause of the headache, our nurses can offer the patient home care advice, such as proper doses of Tylenol or Motrin, cool compresses to the forehead, making sure the patient has eaten (in case blood sugar is low), and is resting in a dark quiet room. Our nurses also make sure the patient is aware of certain symptoms to look for that would need to be seen by a doctor immediately.
For the vast majority of people suffering from headache, effective treatment requires no expensive equipment, tests, or specialists. However, assessing headaches for a Continuwell nurse means ruling out serious symptoms by listening carefully to the caller’s concerns and using proper guidelines. The Continuwell service will allow employees to focus on the tasks at hand and remain productive, after developing a care plan with a Continuwell nurse.