Head Trauma – First Aid and Emergency Treatment Guide

Overview

  • Head trauma is an injury that affects the brain / skull
  • Injuries range from minor to serious
  • Head injury may be ‘closed’ or ‘penetrating’
  • ‘Closed’-when head hits against a blunt object
  • These injuries lead to concussion
  • ‘Penetrating’ – an object penetrates skull and enters brain

Causes

  • Road traffic accidents
  • Accidents at home / work
  • Assault
  • Fall
  • Sports

Symptoms

  • Loss of consciousness – for short or long duration
  • Bleeding
  • Vomiting
  • Fluid discharge from nose
  • Loss of hearing, vision, taste, smell
  • Speech-related problems
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Seizures
  • Paralysis
  • Coma
  • Change in personality
  • Mental health-related problems

Treatment

For mild injury-

  • Apply ice to injured area to minimize swelling
  • The size of the bump is not related to the severity of injury
  • Observe the patient carefully for signs of bleeding

For moderate to severe injury-

  • Check the patient’s breathing pattern
  • If necessary do Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
  • In case of bleeding, press area with a clean cloth
  • If the cloth soaks, place a fresh cloth over the first one
  • Do not remove debris from the wound
  • If person is vomiting turn on the side and lower the head
  • To minimize spine injury – hold head, neck and body in one line
  • Immobilize the patient
  • If unconscious, treat it like a spinal injury
  • Keep the head in alignment with spine
  • Get immediate medical help

Consult a Doctor

  • When the following occur seek medical help-
  • Bleeding
  • Fluid discharge from nose, mouth, ears
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Confusion / Restlessness / Irritability
  • Slurred speech / Convulsion
  • Blurred Vision
  • Low breathing
  • Low blood pressure / Severe headache
  • Fracture / Stiff neck
  • Loss of sensory abilities
  • Inability to move one or more limbs

Steps to Avoid 

  • Avoid shaking or moving a person who has head injuries
  • Avoid washing the wound or removing debris
  • Do not remove helmet in case of head injury
  • Do not consume alcohol immediately after a head injury
  • Do not pick up a fallen child with head injury

Prevention

  • Do not indulge in drunken driving
  • Practice safe methods while driving / sporting / other activities
  • Always follow safety rules
  • Supervise the activities of children

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