A head injury is usually caused by a form of direct blow to the head. This can occur from a fall, vehicular accident or sustaining a direct blow in the head.
Symptoms of a head injury
Right after sustaining a head injury, the individual is usually confused. In most cases, the symptoms can last anywhere from a few hours up to a few weeks.
- Mild to moderate headache
- Nausea or vomiting
- Dizziness or balance issues
- Ringing in the ears
- Changes in the mood such being irritable or feeling restless
- Changes in the sleeping pattern
- Diminished level of energy or drowsiness
How a head injury is diagnosed
The doctor will ask the individual about the injury and the symptoms experienced. There might be a need to undergo a neurological exam to assess the brain function. The doctor will also check how the pupils react to light as well as the hand grasp, memory and balance.
Management of head injury
Medications such as acetaminophen can be given since it works by reducing the pain. This medication is available over-the-counter but a doctor can be consulted on how much to take and how often it should be taken. Always follow the instructions given by the doctor since acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not used properly.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen can be used since it works by reducing the swelling, fever and pain. This medication is available with or without the prescription of a doctor. NSAIDs are known to cause stomach bleeding or kidney issues in some individuals. If the individual takes blood thinning medications, a doctor should be consulted if NSAIDs are safe to be taken. Do not forget to carefully read the label and follow the given instructions.
Management of the symptoms
The individual can rest or engage in quiet activities for the initial 24 hours. Steadily resume normal activities as directed. The individual might not be able to play sports or engage in activities that put the individual at risk for sustaining a blow to the head.
Cold therapy can also be used to reduce the pain and swelling. An ice pack can also help prevent tissue damage. You can utilize an ice pack or place crushed ice in a plastic bag. Make sure that it is covered with a clean cloth or towel and apply it over the injury for 15-20 minutes every hour as directed.
You have to wake the individual at different times during the night as directed. You have to ask a few questions to check if the individual is thinking clearly.
When to call for emergency assistance
- If the individual could not be awaken
- There is drainage of clear fluid or blood from the nose or ears
When to seek immediate care
- There is repeated or forceful vomiting
- Double or blurred vision
- The individual does not know where he/she is or could not recognize people
- Pupils are unequal in size
- Leg or arm weakness, loss of feeling or issues with coordination