Can Allodynia Predict Headache Related to Personal Protective Equipment for the Prevention of COVID-19?

Karen dos Santos Ferreira, Ana Miriam Velly


In this complex context of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), headache medicine has been completely affected by this new reality, with new types of headaches directly or indirectly related to COVID-19 being detected. Personal protective equipment (PPE) was recommended for workers in many professions that did not previously require wearing masks leading to new headaches, or the exacerbation of past headaches, especially among health workers. A 57-year-old female working in a secondary care hospital had a history of migraine twice/month without aura and allodynia symptom checklist (ASC12) scored as 7 before COVID-19 outbreak. She began to work with PPE (surgical masks, face shield and surgical cap) and migraines became daily (bifrontal, pulsatile, with photophobia, nausea, vomiting and of severe intensity, visual analog scale: 7), starting after 1 h of wearing protective equipment and lasted for at least 6 h during the day. There was no adequate response to treatment. The headache frequency retuned to twice/month after the patient stayed home 45 days due to another condition. It is hypothesized here that people with allodynia symptoms when exposed to PPE are more susceptible to the development of new headaches or to the worsening of existing primary headaches. The relationship between previous allodynia determined with the ASC12 questionnaire and new headaches, or past primary headaches that have become worse during the COVID-19 pandemic in workers using PPE, should be better investigated in order to clarify this hypothesis. Cutaneous allodynia could be related with the sensitivity to PPE and headache progression.

J Med Cases. 2021;12(5):202-204


Headache; Migraine; COVID-19

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