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What is a head injury?
A head injury is any harm to your brain, skull, or scalp. Head injuries can be mild, moderate, or severe. Common types include:
Types of head injuries
- This is a jarring injury to the brain. Most of the time people remain conscious. They may feel dazed and may lose vision or balance for a brief time.
- Brain contusion. This is a bruise of the brain. Minor bleeding in your brain causes swelling.
- Skull fracture. This crack in the skull. Sometimes the broken skull bones can cut into the brain. This causes bleeding and can lead to another injury.
- This is bleeding in your brain that collects and clots, forming a bump. A hematoma may not appear for a day or as long as several weeks.
Symptoms of a head injury?
With a head injury, it’s normal to have a headache and nausea. You may be dizzy or disoriented right afterward. You may also have problems focusing or remembering things. Other symptoms include ringing in the ears, neck pain, or vision problems. These symptoms often go away in a few weeks, or may last longer if the injury was severe.
Get help if you notice the following symptoms:
- Any symptom that is getting worse, such as headaches, nausea or fatigue
- Frequent vomiting
- Drastic changes in behavior, such as anger or confusion
- Pupils that are bigger than normal (dilated ) different sizes
- Trouble walking or speaking
- Problems breathing
- Drainage of bloody or clear fluids from ears or nose
- Weakness or numbness in the arms or legs
What causes ahead injuries?
There are several causes of head injuries. You may get injured playing a sport or activity. Certain jobs, such as construction, contain risk of a head injury. Children or elderly people may fall around the house and get hurt. Severe head injuries are most likely to occur in a car, motorcycle, or bicycle wreck.
DIAGNOSIS & TESTS
How is a head injury diagnosed?
Your healthcare provider will ask about how the injury happened, your symptoms, and about past health problems. Tell them if you’ve had serious symptoms such as vomiting or seizures. The healthcare provider may also ask questions to see how you are. Examples include “What’s your name?”, “What day is it?”, and “Where are you?”. You may need to stay in the hospital. This allows the healthcare provider to watch and monitor your condition.
Sometimes, tests that take pictures of the brain, such as a computerized tomography (CT) or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan are needed to find out more about possible damage.
Can a head injury be prevented or avoided?
You cannot always avoid head injuries, but you can do things to decrease your risk.
- Wearing a seatbelt in the car.
- Wearing a helmet on a motorcycle or bicycle.
- Wearing proper protective gear at work or when playing sports.
- Keeping a close watch on children and elderly people for falls or accidents.
Living with a head injury
Most people recover from head injuries with no lasting effects. However, damage can occur if your brain moves or is pierced. Talk to your doctor about how to manage side effects or symptoms, such as pain.
After a head injury, you may have memory loss. For example, you may forget the events right before, during and right after the accident. Memory of these events may or may not come back. Following treatment, the ability to learn and remember new things often returns.