When you experience a head injury, the brain which is a soft organ protected by the bone that surrounds the brain becomes more vulnerable. This type of injury can cause swelling and bleeding of the brain. Falls are the leading cause of brain injury for all ages.
The head injury that is most common is a concussion. A concussion can cause unconsciousness or not. If you suspect that someone has a concussion, here are some things you can do while waiting for the emergency response team:
Only if it is absolutely necessary for safety reasons should you attempt to move the injured person.
Check to see if the injured person is conscious or unconscious.
If unconscious, check breathing, circulation and the airway.
How is the injured person's awareness and eye movement?
Be watchful for vomiting and try to keep the injured person awake for a period of time in order to monitor their condition.
Brain injury symptoms can include:
Confusion and disorientation
Inability to remember what caused the injury or any events immediately before or up to 24 hours after the injury
Difficulty retaining new information
Nausea and vomiting
Difficulty communicating coherently
Loud ringing in the ears
Emotional and behavior changes
Changes with sleep habits
What to do once you have returned home from a head injury:
Avoid driving for the first few days.
Try to rest and relax as much as possible for the first 48 hours. Chances are that you will feel more tired than usual.
Don't be left alone for the first 48 hours, make arrangements for someone to be with you.
Don't eat or drink for the first 6-12 hours unless advised by your physician.
Once you resume eating keep the amounts small aid in moderation.
Use an icepack on the painful or swollen area.
Only take the pain medication instructed by your physician.
The only treatment for mild head injury is rest and not overdoing activities.
You should seek medical care if you are experiencing the following:
A fever-this could indicate infection
Visual problems such as blurred or seeing double
Memory recall, confusion
Dizziness or blackouts
On-going and severe headaches
Sluggish and lethargic behavior
Tremors or spasms
Fluid or blood from ears and nose
Numbness, tingling or neck pain
Take your time and be certain that you have fully recovered before returning to your normal activities. Recovery time will vary by individual and by the severity of the injury. Always seek the advice of your physician.
If you or a loved one should experience any symptoms of a head or brain injury, seek medical advice even if the symptoms seem mild. Immediately call 911 for anyone who is unconscious or who experiences seizures, repeated vomiting or for any symptom that seems to worsen over time. To be safe seek emergency care for any head injury even if consciousness is not loss and the symptoms clear up quickly. A brain injury may have occurred and the injury can have serious long term effects.
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Providing Home Care to Atlanta families since 1994