The amount of time missed from school in two small town school populations was estimated by measuring absence from school and attendance at sickbay, and stated causes were analysed. School absence related to headache (expressed as percentage of pupil days missed out of possible pupil days, during two 12 week periods) in children aged 5 to 14 years, was 0.05%. This represented approximately 1% of all school absence, and was recorded (usually only once) in 3.7% of children. The duration of absence was one day or less on 85% of occasions. This low absence rate was in contrast with the high prevalence of headache reported by children aged 9 to 14 of between 76 and 94% according to age and sex. Attendance at school sick bay because of headache was recorded in 3.6% of children aged 5 to 19 (only 0.5% then left school early because of headache) in one 12 week period. It is concluded that although headache prevalence is high in the age groups studied, it is not a prominent cause of time missed from school.
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