Concussion refers to the injury to the brain that results from an impact to the head such as fall, car accident, being struck on the head, or sports injury. Anything that involves injury to the brain can send you panicking, but it’s important to remember that a concussion is not life-threatening, although it does cause short-term and long-term problems. It’s a type of closed-head injury that does not involve bleeding under the skull or into the brain.
Signs and Symptoms
A mild case of concussion can result in temporary loss of consciousness. A severe one can cause prolonged loss of consciousness. Other signs and symptoms include confusion, headache, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision and loss of short-term memory. When you have concussion, it may be difficult for you to recall the events that transpired before or after the accident.
Another sign is perseverating. This refers to repeating the same phrase over and over again even if the person has already been saying it several times.
Bleeding under the scalp and outside the skull can result in a large bruise at the site of the injury. This is called hematoma. Fortunately, this can go away on its own over time. Applying ice or cold compress after the trauma can help decrease the size of the hematoma. Be careful not to apply the ice directly to the skin. Instead use a towel or washcloth to wrap the ice before applying on the skin. A bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel or cloth can also be a good option. Apply this for 20 to 30 minutes every two to four hours. It’s also a must to get plenty of rest to allow the brain to heal.
It would also be a smart move to visit the doctor as soon as possible. You may be prescribed with pain relievers such as acetaminophen. If there are cuts, you may be given medications like lidocaine, either by topical ointment or injection. The cut will be thoroughly cleansed using saline or iodine solution.
The doctor will also examine the head to look for any foreign matter embedded into the skin. If there is, this will be removed and the skin will be closed using stitches, skin staples, and skin glue.
If the concussion is from a sports accident, it is a must for the athlete to be removed from the game until fully evaluated by a physician. This was ordered by the American Academy of Neurology in 2010. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggests the implementation of this 4-step plan:
1. Remove the athlete from the game.
2. Have the athlete evaluated by a health care professional who’s an expert in concussion evaluation.
3. Inform the parents or family of the athlete regarding the concussion.
4. Keep the athlete out of the game until the health care professional gives a go signal.
Concussion injuries can be avoided with safety precautions. Although it’s hard to predict when an accident is going to strike, you can minimize the risk by keeping your home and surroundings free of hazards that can cause slips and falls. It’s also a must to drive safely and play sports using safety sports gear.