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First Aid Basics: “Dealing with a head injury”

August 6, 2012

If a head injury has taken place, applying a cold compress to the injury will reduce external swelling and pain. You could wrap a towel around frozen vegetables, a bag of ice or ice cubes as a cold compress. Hold it to the injury for no more than 20 minutes, and then remove for 10 minutes. Continue to repeat this until the swelling goes down, or the person is uncomfortable.

Keep in mind that a head injury or blow to the head can cause the brain to be shaken inside the skull. This is called concussion, and tends to result in a short loss of consciousness or confusion. The symptoms may not be obvious immediately though.

Symptoms of concussion would include:

  • Dizziness
  • Loss of Consciousness
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Feeling Sick (Nausea and vomiting)
  • Blurred Vision
  • Having no memory of what happened
  • Seeing flashing lights

The following are emergency symptoms of a concussion. Seek immediate medical care if there are:

  • Changes in alertness and consciousness
  • Convusions (seizures)
  • Muscle weakness on one or both sides
  • Persistent confusion
  • Remaining unconsciousness (coma)
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Unequal pupils
  • Unusual eye movements
  • Walking problems

Painkillers are not advised as these can mask the signs and symptoms of a serious head injury.

Healing from a concussion takes time. It may take days, weeks, or even months. You may be irritable, have trouble concentrating, be unable to remember things, have headaches, dizziness, and blurry vision.

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