It is important to note that one can recover from a minor head injury at home, but it is vital to watch out for the development of any new symptoms. Once a child sustains a bump, knock or blow to the head, you have to let him/her sit down and rest. Apply a cold compress that is wrapped in a clean towel or cloth on the head. In case an ice pack is not available, a pack of frozen vegetables can be used.
Do not hesitate to seek immediate medical care if the signs and symptoms such as headache or dizziness become worse. Being prepared with what to do is definitely an advantage so that an individual who sustained a minor head injury is properly cared for.
What to do if a minor head injury is suspected?
- Make sure that someone will stay with the injured individual and in an area that is within easy access to a telephone or medical assistance for the initial 48 hours after the injury.
- The individual should be encouraged to get enough rest and avoid any stressful scenarios.
- Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages or use any form of recreational drugs.
- Sedatives, sleeping pills or tranquilizers should not be used unless prescribed by the doctor.
- The individual can be given paracetamol if he/she experiences a mild headache but do not provide non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin or ibuprofen unless prescribed by the doctor.
- Avoid engaging in any activity including contact sports for at least 3 weeks.
- It is not advisable to return to school or work until fully recovered.
- The individual should not drive a motorbike, car or bicycle or even operate machinery until completely recovered.
When to seek further care
The initial step is to bring the individual to the nearest emergency department if the symptoms seem to get worse.
If the individual still experiences symptoms for up to 2 weeks after sustaining a head injury or uncertain about driving or going to work, it is best to set an appointment with a doctor for further assessment.
What to do for a child with a minor head injury?
If a child sustained a minor head injury, there are measures to bear in mind. Initially, provide the child with paracetamol if he/she has a mild headache. Do not provide non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin or ibuprofen. Take note that aspirin should not be given to children below 16 years old.
As much as possible, avoid getting the child too excited and limit the number of visitors. The child should not engage in any physical activity especially contact sports as well as rough play for a few days.
A child should be taken to a doctor or nearest emergency department if the symptoms worsen or new symptoms develop. If the child still has symptoms after 2 weeks, consult a doctor as well.