What You Should Know About Concussions
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that can alter the way your brain functions. These effects are usually temporary, but may include headaches and issues with concentration, memory, balance, and coordination. Although most concussions are caused by a blow to the head, they can also occur when the head and upper body has been shaken violently. This can cause a loss of consciousness, but most do not. Due to this, it is not uncommon for someone to have a concussion and not know it.
Signs and Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of a concussion are not always very obvious and some do not appear immediately after the injury. The symptoms can last for days, weeks, or even longer. Here are just a few of the signs and symptoms of a concussion to watch out for:
Temporary loss of consciousness
Confusion or the feeling of being in a fog
Amnesia surrounding the event
Nausea or vomiting
Dizziness or “seeing stars”
Concentration and memory complaints
Irritability and other personality changes
It is important to note that some concussions are minor while others are serious and need immediate medical attention. If anyone experiences any of the following symptoms, make sure to take them to the hospital or call 9-1-1 immediately:
- Repeated vomiting
A loss of consciousness lasting longer than 30 seconds
A headache that becomes increasingly worse over time
Behavioral changes such as irritability
Changes in physical coordination such as stumbling or clumsiness
Confusion or disorientation such as difficulty recognizing people
Changes in speech such as slurred speech
The brain has the consistency of gelatin. Everyday jolts and bumps are usually cushioned by cerebrospinal fluid within the skull. A violent blow to your head and neck or upper body can cause your brain to slide back and forth forcefully against the inner walls of your skull. Sudden acceleration or deceleration of the head, due to events such as a car crash or being violent shaken, can also result in brain injury.
A brain injury of this type may lead to bleeding in or around your brain causing symptoms such as prolonged drowsiness and confusion that may develop immediately or later on. Such bleeding can be fatal and that’s why anyone who experiences a brain injury needs to be monitored in the hours afterwards and emergency care if there condition worsens.
Certain factors can increase your risk of a concussion including playing high-risk sports, being involved in a motor vehicle collision, pedestrian or bicycle accident, or falling. For example, those that play football are often at a much greater risk for developing multiple concussions which over time can cause severe damage to the brain if not treated properly.
What To Do If You Suspect Someone Of Having A Concussion
If you suspect that someone may have a concussion or any other type of head injury, stay with them and make a checklist of the immediate symptoms. If they experience any of the severe symptoms such as loss of consciousness for over 30 minutes or constant vomiting, take them to a doctor immediately. If no symptoms have appeared or are minor in appearance, you still need to stay with them for at least 24 hours if not longer to ensure they get medical help if their symptoms worsen or severe symptoms seem to develop.
Do not let the injured person drive, handle machinery, or drink after a head injury even if they seem fine. You also need to keep them awake for a least a few hours as drowsiness can be a sign of bleeding from the head. If you are unsure whether the signs are severe or minor in nature, you should take them to the doctor just to stay on the safe side.