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Head Injury

Information about Head Injury

We Have to Know about the Head Injury

  • Any trauma that leads to injury of the scalp, skull, or brain.

  • The injuries can range from a minor bump on the head to serious brain injury

  • A blow to the head may cause a bruise, a cut on the scalp, concussion or, sometimes, dangerous internal brain injuries.

  • Fortunately, most falls or blows to the head result in injury to the scalp only, which is usually more frightening than threatening. A scalp injury can bleed extensively since the scalp is rich with blood vessels. The “goose egg” or swelling that may appear on the scalp after a head blow results from the scalp’s veins leaking fluid or blood into (and under) the scalp. It may take days or even weeks to disappear.

  • Serious head injuries may have no obvious external signs, but cause internal bleeding and swelling that puts pressure on the brain tissue. It may be caused by a hard blow to the head, a fall onto the base of the spine that jars the brain, violent spinning of the head, or an injury that penetrates the skull. The more force involved in a head injury, the bigger the likelihood of serious injury to the brain.

  • Signs of a brain injury may appear immediately or develop slowly over several hours. Usually, signs will occur within three days after a blow to the head, but in rare cases, they may even manifest weeks later.

Could be dangerous, if the answer is YES for any one of the following questions

  • Becomes unusually drowsy

  • Develops a severe headache or stiff neck

  • Vomits more than once

  • Loses consciousness (even if brief)

  • Behaves abnormally

First Aid

Home treatment

  • If the victim is unconscious, assume that he or she has a spinal injury. Do not move the victim. Suspect a spinal injury after any severe blow to the head, even if the person is conscious.

  • Apply firm pressure with a cloth to a bleeding head wound.

  • Apply ice or cold packs to reduce any swelling.

  • After any blow to the head, keep a close eye on the person for the next 24 hours. Every 2 hours, check for the following (even during the night – wake them up to do the checks): difficulty in waking up, confusion and memory loss (ask questions as set out below), difficulty speaking, inability to move limbs, blurred or double vision, unequal pupil size (test response with flashlight). If any of these symptoms appear, or if there are any vomiting or seizures, the person should be seen by a doctor immediately.

  • Check for injuries to other parts of the body.

  • Encourage a person who has suffered even mild concussion to rest for a few days.

Concussion

  • The concussion is a head injury that produces an altered mental state, with, or without a loss of consciousness. Concussion sufferers look and act dazed, have a vacant stare and a confused facial expression. They are slow to answer questions and follow instructions. Distractibility and confusion are common. Slurred or incoherent speech, a lack of coordination, and memory loss indicate a more severe concussion – so do a loss in consciousness, even if brief.

  • The symptoms of mild concussion disappear quickly, but more serious injuries can produce headaches, dizziness, nausea and mental fogginess that last for hours or days. A person with a severe concussion may suffer from fatigue, low-grade headaches, poor memory and concentration, disturbed sleep, irritability and depression for several weeks or even months.

  • All persons with a concussion should see a doctor. Further contact sports should be avoided until a doctor has given permission to do so. A second head injury soon after concussion may lead to brain swelling and even death.

Causes of Head Injury

  • Common causes of head injury include traffic accidents, falls, physical assault, and accidents at home, work, outdoors, or while playing sports.

  • Some head injuries result in prolonged or non-reversible brain damage. This can occur as a result of bleeding inside the brain or forces that damage the brain directly

Do’s and Don’ts of Head Injury

  • DO NOT wash a head wound that is deep or bleeding a lot.

  • DO NOT remove any object sticking out of a wound.

  • DO NOT move the person unless absolutely necessary.

  • DO NOT shake the person if he or she seems dazed.

  • DO NOT remove a helmet if you suspect a serious head injury.

  • DO NOT drink alcohol within 48 hours of a serious head injury.

Signs & Symptoms of Head Injury

  • The signs of a head injury can occur immediately or develop slowly over several hours. Even if the skull is not fractured, the brain can bang against the inside of the skull and be bruised. (This is called a concussion.) The head may look fine, but complications could result from bleeding inside the skull.

  • Loss of consciousness, confusion, or drowsiness

  • Low breathing rate or drop in blood pressure

  • Convulsions

  • Fracture in the skull or face, facial bruising, swelling at the site of the injury, or scalp wound

  • Fluid drainage from nose, mouth, or ears (may be clear or bloody)

  • A severe headache

  • Initial improvement followed by worsening symptoms

  • Irritability (especially in children), personality changes, or unusual behavior

  • Restlessness, clumsiness, lack of coordination

  • Slurred speech or blurred vision

  • Inability to move one or more limbs

  • Stiff neck or vomiting

  • Pupil changes

  • Inability to hear, see, taste, or smell

  • Memory loss after the first five minutes

  • Slowed breathing rate

Medical advice for Head Injury

  • Bleeding

  • Losing consciousness – Coma

  • The person loses consciousness at any time after the injury, even if it was brief.

  • There are signs of a serious brain injury

  • You suspect there has been neck or spinal damage.

  • If the person continues to vomit after the first 15 minutes after an injury or if vomiting occurs after the first 2 hours. (Children often vomit once or twice soon after an injury).

  • There is an open gaping scalp wound.

Risk factors of Head Injury

  • The people most at risk of traumatic brain injury include Children, especially newborns to 4-year-olds. Young adults, especially those between ages 15 and 24.

Treatment for Head Injury

  • Hospitalization/Observation/Treatment/Surgery

Self-care for Head Injury

  • Always use safety equipment during activities that could result in head injury. These include seat belts, bicycle or motorcycle helmets, and hard hats, no matter how short the distance

  • Obey traffic signals when riding a bicycle. Be predictable so that other drivers will be able to determine your course.

  • Be visible. DO NOT ride a bicycle at night.

  • Make sure that children have a safe area in which to play.

  • Supervise children of any age.

  • Do not Dive in murky or shallow waters.

  • DO NOT drink and drive, and DO NOT allow yourself to be driven by someone who you know or suspect has been drinking alcohol.

Investigations for Head Injury

  • X-ray head

  • CT and MRI scans

  • Lab tests

Causes of Head Injury
                Symptoms of Head Injury