Traffic or work accidents, falls, and fights can cause head injuries. Fortunately, most head injuries are minor.
A concussion is a brief loss of consciousness due to a blow to the head.
The most common symptom is a constant headache that may get worse, sometimes accompanied by vomiting.
Other symptoms can include blurred vision, sleepiness, and memory problems. Athletes who have had a head injury should not return to their sport without a medical evaluation.
People taking anticoagulants (drugs to prevent blood clotting) need to take special precautions to prevent falls because they could bleed more easily from a blow to the head.
Immeditely consult the doctor, if a head injury results in loss of consciousness, breathing difficulty, or a neck injury. Every person with a head injury that isnít bleeding should be watched for 24 hours for symptoms.
In the absence of nausea, vomiting, or other symptoms, careful observation is the best way to monitor a head injury.
If the head is bleeding, apply pressure to control bleeding.
Clean the wound and bandage it if possible. Apply an ice bag for swelling.
Check to see if the individualís pupils are equal in size.
Check skin color every few hours. Wake a child every 2 hours to observe breathing and to be assured of consciousness. Wake an adult every few hours to check breathing and level of consciousness.
Question the person about name, age, and address to check his or her level of confusion.
Limit activity for 24 hours after the injury, if possible.
Wear a helmet when riding bikes, horses, or motorcycles.
Use seat belts in automobiles.
Wear hard hats at industrial sites.
Never dive into shallow water.
Childproof your home.
Be very careful when picking up and carrying infants.
Do not use baby walkers and never leave infants alone on beds, changing tables, or other high places.
Supervise outside play.
Teach safety in crossing streets.
Use seat belts and car safety seats in vehicles.
Signs and Symptoms that need immediate care:
Bleeding from the scalp lasts longer than10 minutes with pressure.
Person loses consciousness.
Person has difficulty walking or talking normally.
Person has blurred vision or unequal pupils.
Person has severe headache or neck pain.
Breathing is difficult.
Bloody drainage occurs from the personís nostrils or ears.
Severe swelling around area of injury within 2 hours.