Such is the danger of head injuries that can lead to permanent mental impairment, disability and even death, but are an acceptable risk in some professions including that of sports and other recreational activities. But it’s also a fact that you don’t have to be hit on the head directly to experience head injuries as impacts elsewhere on the body can be enough to jar the brain.
- Confusion, depression, dizziness or balance problems
- Fuzzy, blurred or double vision
- Groggy or sluggish feeling, headache and nausea
- Memory loss, sleep disturbance, pain
- Trouble concentrating and difficulty remembering
- Impaired senses
- Bleeding on the head area, nose, mouth or ears (see Bleeding)
- Distorted facial features, facial bruising (see Bruise)
- Low breathing rate
- Irritability, loss of coordination, restlessness, clumsiness
- Slurred speech or irregular slowness
- Swelling on injured part
- Stiff neck, vomiting, in ability to move the limb
- Fracture (see Broken Bone)
First Aid for Head injuries
1. Monitor the patient’s lifeline. Follow DRABC.
First priority is to ensure the patient is breathing on their own accord. Check for and monitor breathing and pulse.
2. Support the head and neck
Treat any head injury as serious and take care not to move the neck or head in case of spinal injury.
3. Control bleeding and treat open wounds
Place a sterile pad over any wounds. If you suspect a skull fracture, avoid applying pressure to stem the bleeding. If bleeding continues in this case, gently reposition the pad or apply others around the area until it stops.
If fluid or blood is present in the ears, cover the area to prevent infection but allow fluids to drain.
4. Immobilize patent
The best position for a responsive patient is on their back with their head and shoulders slightly raised. Ensure their airway remains clear after vomiting.
5. Seek medical care immediately
At the onset of symptoms, encourage the patient to stop any physical activity and lie down to rest.
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