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Head injury, when it becomes serious

Updated: Jul 18, 2023

From minor bumps in children to slips and falls in adults head injuries are very common occurrences but, are they serious or not?

Severe head injury can cause bleeding into, or swelling of the brain so we need to recognise signs and symptoms to try to gauge the severity of possible injury immediately after the trauma happens.

What to look for.

Call 000 ask for ambulance immediately if the person:

· Losses consciousness, even briefly

· Increased drowsiness

· Seizures

· Confusion, dizziness, loss of balance and/or loss of memory

· Difficulty walking

· Difficulty speaking

· Persistent head and neck pain

· Vomiting

· Double vision

· Bleeding or fluid from the nose or ears

· Obvious serious wound


These signs and symptoms can appear quickly in the case of a major injury. But, if it is a minor injury then it may take a few days before these develop.

So, it is vital to monitor the person closely following head trauma.

If in any doubt about the injury, should seek medical help immediately.

How to treat a head injury

· Sit the person down and hold a cold pack against the injury for any swelling which may be present. (Wrap the ice in a cloth to avoid direct contact with the skin).

· If the person wants to lay down, ensure their head and shoulders are slightly elevated. Do not lay flat.

· Treat any scalp bleeds by applying direct pressure to the wound.

· Stay with the person to monitor them and record any vital signs. Look out for changes in their levels of response.

·Call 000 for ambulance if the person stats to show any of the signs and symptoms above

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