Health and Fitness

What You Need to Do After Sustaining a Head Injury

After any sort of head injury, it’s best to take care of it right away. If you’re still able to move on your own, take things slowly and move carefully. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and see a doctor as soon as you can, even if you don’t think you’ve had a major injury.

Go to Doctor

Damage to the brain can be unpredictable. Symptoms may not show up right away and you may experience dizziness, confusion or loss of consciousness. That is why it’s important to visit a doctor, even if you think you only have a minor injury. According to Weill Cornell Medicine, certain people can also be prone to concussions. A doctor can recommend treatment based on your own and your family’s medical history.

Get Someone to Drive You

Make sure you have someone to drive you to and from the doctor. If you have a concussion, you will need to avoid driving for at least 24 hours. If your injury is severe enough, the doctor may even require you to have a chaperone until you recover. This can be a family member or close friend, anyone who will notice problems or changes in your behavior. Ask your doctor plenty of questions about recovery and what symptoms you should keep an eye out for.

Look for Symptoms of a Brain Injury

Whenever you have a head injury, it’s important to keep an eye on how you’re feeling. According to Bruscato Law, losing consciousness can be a major sign of a brain injury.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Pain and sound or light sensitivity
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Trouble speaking
  • Difficulty falling asleep or oversleeping
  • Fainting for a few seconds, but under a few minutes
  • No fainting, but feeling confused or dazed
  • Feeling dizzy or unbalanced
  • Trouble concentrating or remembering
  • Emotional instability, depression or anxiety
  • Changes in taste or smell
  • Vision problems

These all can result from even mild brain trauma. With more serious injuries, severe symptoms can appear, like numbness, slurred speech, dilated pupils, seizures, drainage from the nose or ears, prolonged loss of consciousness, or extensive loss of coordination. If you or someone you know experiences any of these symptoms, find medical treatment immediately. Children may also exhibit brain injuries in different ways than adults, so keep an eye out for any changes in behavior. If symptoms are left without treatment, it can lead to more injuries and serious complications.

Give Yourself Some Time to Rest

Once a person with an injury has seen a doctor, it’s usually best to allow them to rest. Unlike the old wives’ tale, sleeping with a concussion will not make you fall into a coma. However, it is important to make sure that the injury isn’t causing any further symptoms, like dilated pupils or difficulty waking. Unless you need further treatment, a doctor will usually recommend that you rest. When resting at home, be careful about taking pain medication. In the weeks following your injury, make sure that you don’t take too much of it. According to Boulder Medical Center, taking too many doses of over-the-counter painkillers can worsen headaches over time.

Avoid Physical Activity

Any physical activity runs the change of a person getting another injury. Besides the chance of additional injuries, generally increasing your heart rate runs risks. Get as much rest as possible to help ensure a smooth and full recovery.  

Avoid Overstimulation

According to the Brain Injury Alliance of Nebraska, certain mental activities can aggravate a head injury. Being on a computer, reading, writing, being on your phone, watching tv and playing video games can all create strain. If you do try out these activities, pay attention to how you feel. If at any time your symptoms flare up or return, take a break and rest. Your doctor may also recommend you avoid certain substances like caffeine or alcohol.

The best way to help you be safe after a head injury is to pay attention to what your body tells you. If you feel like you’re getting worse, it’s probably your body telling you what you need to know. Because the brain is so essential, untreated injuries can result in serious consequences. Whether you’ve taken a fall, been in a collision, or had another accident, find treatment as soon as possible.

Read this next: How to Get Back Into Your Routine After an Injury

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