Does Flu Cause Headache?

In the midst of flu season, many of us have experienced the discomfort of a pounding headache alongside the familiar symptoms of fever, fatigue, and congestion. So, let’s address the question head-on: does the flu cause headaches? In this blog post, we’ll delve into the connection between the flu and headaches, exploring the underlying causes and offering insights into how to cope with this unwelcome aspect of the influenza experience. Whether you’re currently battling the flu or simply curious about this common ailment, read on to uncover the facts about flu-induced headaches.

Flu Symptoms

The flu, short for influenza, is a contagious viral infection primarily affecting the respiratory system. It is caused by flu viruses and is known for its sudden onset of symptoms. The most frequent symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Cough
  • Congestion
  • Sore Throat
  • Muscle Aches
  • Chills
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Does Flu Cause Headache?

Yes, the flu, caused by influenza viruses, can indeed lead to headaches as one of its common symptoms. These headaches can vary in intensity and may be accompanied by other symptoms.

Other Causes of Headache

Headaches can be caused by a variety of factors and conditions other than the flu. If you are not experiencing other symptoms related to the common cold or flu, your headaches may be caused by one of the following:

  • Stress, Anxiety, and Muscle Tension
  • Sinusitis or Sinus Infections
  • Reduced or Eliminated Caffeine Intake
  • Dehydration
  • Hormonal Fluctuations
  • Medication Overuse
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Rapid Changes in Barometric Pressure
  • Sleep Deprivation
  • Extended Use of Digital Devices
  • Food Sensitivities
  • Allergies
  • Excessive Alcohol Consumption

man with headache

Types of Headaches

Headaches can come in many different forms. A few of the most common types of headaches include: 

Tension Headaches

These are the most common and typically cause mild to moderate, constant band-like pain around the head. They are often associated with stress and muscle tension.


Migraine headaches are known for severe, throbbing pain, often on one side of the head, and can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound.

Cluster Headaches

These are intensely painful and often occur in clusters or cycles, usually on one side of the head. They may be accompanied by redness and tearing of the eye on the affected side.

Sinus Headaches

Caused by sinusitis or sinus infections, these headaches are often felt as pressure or pain in the sinus cavities, forehead, cheeks, and around the eyes.

When to Seek Medical Attention

Knowing when to seek help for headaches can be challenging, especially if you’re unsure of the root cause. Here are some signs you should ask a medical professional for help:

  • You experience a sudden, extremely severe headache.
  • You have never experienced a headache this bad before, or your headache pattern changes significantly.
  • You have frequent headaches that last for more than a day or two.
  • Your headache is accompanied by neurological symptoms, including weakness, numbness, visual disturbances, speech difficulties, or confusion.
  • You’ve recently suffered a head injury.
  • Your child complains of persistent, severe, or unusual headaches.
  • You have a known medical condition (e.g., cancer, HIV/AIDS) and develop new or worsened headaches.
  • Your headache is accompanied by a high fever. 
  • You have risk factors for specific conditions (e.g., a family history of aneurysms or a history of blood clotting disorders).
  • You have a weakened immune system.
  • Your headaches do not respond to over-the-counter pain relievers.

What is the Best Way to Diagnose the Cause of Headaches?

The best way to formally diagnose the cause of headaches is to partner with a trusted medical professional. Diagnosing the cause of a headache involves a combination of methods and may vary depending on the type and characteristics of the headache. Your care provider may use a combination of the following to help render a diagnosis: 

  • Taking a thorough account of your medical history
  • Conducting a physical and/or neurological examination
  • Having imaging studies performed
  • Running blood tests or other specialized tests
  • Having a discussion about your lifestyle and potential triggers
  • Referring you to a specialists

Altus Emergency Centers Can Help

In the face of excruciating sinus headaches, migraines, other headaches, or worrisome flu symptoms, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed and concerned about your health. However, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to navigate these challenges in isolation. In moments of distress, staying calm and taking proactive steps can make all the difference. 

Altus Emergency Centers is here to offer you the support and care you deserve. Our experienced team of healthcare professionals stands ready to provide a thorough diagnosis, effective treatment, and the relief you urgently need. Visit our website to learn more about our services.