Head Injury

A head injury may seem innocuous at first—a little slip and a bump to the head—but it could be far more dangerous.

If a person loses consciousness after a head injury, then the person has had a “concussion,” which may be serious because it means there has been a temporary loss in brain function. Some people with concussions do not lose consciousness, and brain injuries can occur without a loss of consciousness.

Severe head injuries can involve bruising, fracture, swelling, internal bleeding or a blood clot. Seek emergency care if you notice any of these signs of severe head injury:

  • Headaches that worsen, despite over-the-counter pain medications.
  • Weakness, numbness or decreased coordination.
  • Repeated vomiting.
  • Loss of consciousness for more than one minute.
  • Person is unconscious or cannot be awakened.
  • Unequal pupil sizes — one pupil (the black part in the middle of the eye) is larger than the other.
  • Convulsions or seizures.
  • Slurred speech.
  • Increased confusion or agitation.

You do not need to prevent a person with a head injury from sleeping as a safeguard against going into a coma; this concept is a myth. If the person has neck pain, try to prevent any movement of the neck.

Click here for more information about child head injuries.

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