A concussion is the most common head injury. It is quite difficult for an ordinary person to distinguish a bruise from a concussion. In case of any damage to the head, it is important to provide first aid correctly and consult a doctor on time.
A concussion is a mild form of brain damage. The main thing in treating a concussion is peace and sleep. But the concussion is easily confused with a more severe injury – a brain injury. This trauma requires mandatory medical treatment and hospitalization.
In any case, after a tangible blow to the head, you need to see a doctor, take an X-ray, exclude the presence of cracked skulls, hemorrhages and consult a neurologist.
Symptoms of a concussion
The first thing to remember: even a minor head injury can lead to concussion. Consequently, the fact of injury may already indicate a possible concussion.
Symptoms of a concussion include:
- short-term confusion;
- dizziness. It is observed at rest and with a change in body position. It intensifies when a patient turns or tilts the head. Its cause is a violation of the blood circulation in the vestibular apparatus;
- throbbing headache;
- noise in ears;
- nausea, single vomiting;
- retardation, confusion, slow, incoherent speech;
- diplopia (double vision). When you try to read with eye movement, you feel pain;
- photophobia. Eyes may react painfully to normal light levels;
- hypersensitivity to noise, even moderate sounds can annoy;
- violation of coordination of movement. The easiest way to diagnose it – a person in a standing position with his eyes closed and hands raised to the sides should touch the tip of the nose with his or her index finger. The second option is to put one foot after the other and go in a straight line, close your eyes, raise your hands in different directions and take a few small steps. Doing this yourself is not recommended in order to avoid repeated injury.
Concussion first aid
If the victim is unconscious, immediately call an ambulance. An unconscious person needs to be laid on a hard surface on the right side with bent legs and elbows. Tilt his or her head up and turn to the ground – this position will provide good air passage through the respiratory tract and prevent aspiration (penetration of foreign substances into the respiratory tract when inhaling) fluid in case of vomiting. If the victim’s head is bleeding, a hemostatic dressing must be applied. If the person regained consciousness or did not have a swoon, lay him or her horizontally with the head raised; constantly monitor the consciousness, do not let the victim fall asleep.
It is important to know: all patients with a head injury – regardless of the severity and well-being – should contact the emergency room. According to the decision of the traumatologist, they can be sent for outpatient monitoring to a neurologist or hospitalized in the neurological department for diagnosis and monitoring the condition.
Remember: if a person is unconscious and you cannot independently determine the degree of severity, you’d better not touch him or her and not try to turn or flip once again. If there are factors that threaten the person’s life, such as liquids, bulk solids, small objects that can get into the respiratory tract, they must be eliminated.
What to do after a concussion?
The main thing in the concussion management is the observance of bed rest, proper sleep and rest, the absence of any physical and mental stress, especially in the first few days. If the patient complied with all medical recommendations and treatment was started on time, concussion usually ends with a complete recovery and the resumption of working capacity.
Some patients may still have residual effects of trauma over time: a decrease in concentration, irritability, fatigue, depressive disorders, memory impairment, persistent headaches, migraine, sleep disturbance. As a rule, all these symptoms are alleviated after the first year, but there are cases when they bother a person throughout life.
Drug treatment is prescribed to each patient for a speedy recovery. It helps to get rid of pathological symptoms, strengthen the body and prevent possible complications. Prescribed drugs improve cerebral circulation, reduce headache, relieve dizziness and nausea. In parallel, a doctor may prescribe drugs that have neuroprotective properties and improve the course of various processes in the brain. Soothing and sleeping pills are also used. At the rehabilitation stage, general tonic and nootropic drugs are prescribed.
It is not recommended to do heavy physical work, it is necessary to limit sports for a month after the concussion. In no case should you violate bed rest, it is recommended to stop watching TV, staying at the computer and reading books for a long time. You’d better listen to calm music without using headphones.
If you do not follow the doctor’s recommendations and ignore the treatment, health problems may occur after a concussion. Approximately 3% of patients have complications in the form of epilepsy, persistent asthenic syndrome, insomnia, migraines, and other conditions.
How to prevent a concussion?
A concussion occurs most often in children aged 5 to 14 years. The causes of injuries are sports and cycling.
Adults get a concussion in road accidents and in falls. It is also a common injury among athletes, especially if the sport is extreme or contact (boxing, rugby).
It is not necessary to fall to get a concussion. It is enough to catch with your head something heavier than a soccer ball.
Nobody seems to be safe from the accident. But conventional safety measures reduce the chances of getting a concussion. What can you do?
- Always wear protective equipment when playing sports. Even if you just ride a bicycle, wear a helmet;
- Any contact sports (boxing, rugby, hockey) should be practiced only under the supervision of a professional trainer;
- Always wear a seat belt;
- Do not clutter the stairs and clear the steps of the porch from snow;
- To change a bulb, use steady support;
- Wipe puddles on the floor immediately. Do not wait for someone to slip.