Medical emergencies: Head injury

A head injury can be caused by vehicular accidents, falls and even violence. It is vital to prevent this type of injury by taking into consideration preventive measures such as using a seatbelt while driving, using safety gear such as helmets and wearing proper gear when playing sports, particularly contact sports such as hockey and football.

If an individual loses consciousness after sustaining a head injury, he/she had a concussion that can be serious since it involves temporary loss of brain function. In some cases, those who have concussions will not lose consciousness and brain injuries can occur without loss of consciousness. If you suspect that an individual sustained a head injury after being involved in a vehicular accident or fall in the workplace, it is important that he/she will consult a doctor for proper assessment of the condition.

What are the danger signs (adults)?

Head injury

If an individual loses consciousness after sustaining a head injury, he/she had a concussion that can be serious since it involves temporary loss of brain function.

When it comes to severe head injuries, it can involve fractures, bruising, swelling, blood clot or even internal bleeding. It is best to seek emergency care if any of the signs of severe head injury such as the following are present:

  • Persistent vomiting
  • Headaches that worsen even if over-the-counter pain medications are given
  • Numbness, weakness or diminished coordination
  • Sleepiness
  • Individual is unconscious or could not be awakened
  • Loss of consciousness for more than a minute
  • Pupil size is unequal where one pupil is bigger than the other
  • Slurred speech
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Increased agitation or confusion

Preventing an individual with head injury from sleeping as a safeguard against going into a coma is simply a myth. On the other hand, if the individual experiences neck pain, you have to prevent any movement of the neck.

What are the danger signs (children)?

Do not hesitate to seek immediate emergency care if a child exhibits the danger signs similar to adults and the following symptoms.

  • Child does not stop crying
  • Child could not be consoled
  • Displays evident signs of trauma to the skull or obvious irregularity such as bruising on the scalp or a depressed region at the site of injury
  • Among infants, there is protrusion in the soft spot on the front part of the head

Parents must note that vomiting is quite common among young children and it is vital to seek medical care for a possible head injury if a child repeatedly vomits in a brief period of time such as more than 1-2 times in an hour after sustaining a head injury.

Always bear in mind that head injuries should not be taken lightly even if the individual considers it as a minor one. Even if the exterior damage is minimal, the internal damage might be severe that entails medical attention. Once the danger signs are present, bring the individual to a doctor or the nearest healthcare facility.

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