If you receive a blow to the head or hurt your head in an accident, it can lead to concussion. You can lose consciousness for a moment or have a memory gap. Typical symptoms are headache, fatigue, dizziness and nausea. Most of these resolve within a couple of weeks, but it is important to always have a medical examination to exclude bleeding, swelling and head injury.
If you or someone close to you suffers a serious head injury that results in vomiting, confusion, convulsions or unconsciousness, contact emergency and wait for an ambulance.
Concussion is relatively common. Often it is children who get a concussion in connection with sports or bicycle accidents. Among adults, fall injuries and car accidents are the most common causes.
It is important to know that the symptoms of concussion can be delayed. In some cases, you may get a concussion without realising it – symptoms sometimes appear a few hours later.
The brain is normally protected from injury by cerebrospinal fluid, which provides a fluid buffer that acts as a shock absorber in case of a jolt, fall or other mechanical injury. In the event of a more serious injury to the head, face or neck, the brain can move and despite the protective fluid, may strike the inside of the skull. This leads to concussions that cause temporary problems in the form of memory problems, concentration difficulties and increased need for sleep over a period of time.
When you get a severe concussion, you can sometimes become unconscious for a short while or have a memory loss. Less severe concussion is characterized mainly by headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting.
- nausea and vomiting
- difficulty concentrating
- increased sound and light sensitivity
- memory loss
Pay attention to delayed symptoms
Some people may feel almost normal after a concussion and so may not even realize they have experienced one. It is important to remember that the symptoms may be delayed. You may start to feel worse after a few hours and may need care – so it is good to have someone near you for 24hrs after an injury.
Both children and adults usually sleep a lot after a concussion but need regular supervision in the first 24 hours. Since there is a risk of bleeding or swelling in the brain after head injury, it is important to pay attention to any symptoms in case they worsen in the hours after the accident.
Prevention and protection
You can reduce your risk of getting a concussion by wearing the correct helmet and other athletic safety gear during sports activities. Always make sure the helmet and other gear fit properly and are worn appropriately. Ask a coach or other sports professional about safe playing techniques, and make sure to follow their advice.
A blow to the head or a head injury should always be examined by doctors who monitor blood pressure, heart rate and various neurological functions. X-rays and MRI are sometimes required to ensure that no bleeding, swelling, head injuries or neck injuries have occurred.
If the doctor can detect a concussion but has no reason to suspect a serious injury, there is no special treatment to give. With the help of rest, you usually return to full health within a couple of weeks. In more unusual cases, dizziness, headaches, fatigue and concentration difficulties can cause more long-term problems.
You should have someone with you for the first 24 hours, as concussions can sometimes cause delayed symptoms.
Avoid activities that require high concentration in the first few days – limit your reading and do not watch TV or a computer screen for too long. Rest when you feel tired and abstain from alcohol and exercise until you are completely recovered.
Pharmacies have prescription-free, pain-relieving drugs that can relieve headaches.
When to consult a doctor
If you have a head injury, always get help immediately to make sure that your brain has not been harmed – even if you feel well.
Seek emergency treatment if you feel worse after a few hours, days or weeks. Pay particular attention to the following symptoms:
- severe headache
- repeated vomiting
- visual changes
- weakness in the arms or legs.
In case of severe concussion, you may have other symptoms, such as fluid or blood flowing from the mouth, nose or ears. In this case call an ambulance.
How APPOTEK can help
You can contact APPOTEK in cases of mild concussion. A nurse or a physician will make an individual assessment based on your symptoms, then prescribe treatment or refer you for further examination. Concussion often requires physical examination. If your child has a problem, he or she should see a doctor.
For more serious cases of concussion you should contact the emergency services.