Cluster headache (Horton's headache) is an uncommon disease that affects more men than women. It is manifested as a very intense headache usually located around one eye.
The headaches continue for a period and return with attacks occurring over a period a few weeks or months.
The headaches come suddenly and can last from 15 minutes to a few hours. The number of attacks is generally one or two per day but there can be up to eight per day. Common symptoms while an attack is in progress are that the eye often becomes red and runny, the pupil is small and the eyelid droops. Nasal congestion and nose drips may occur.
Small amounts of alcohol often trigger an attack for the person who is in a headache period. Medicines that dilate the blood vessels, such as nitroglycerine, can also trigger the symptoms.
Treatment with oxygen
The attacks can often be curtailed and or alleviated within 10-15 minutes by treatment with oxygen. The treatment of an ongoing attack often consists in inhalation of 100% oxygen.