First Aid Head Injuries

HEAD INJURIES

Must be treated with particular care, since there is always the possibility of brain damage. Also it is important to note that injuries to the head involve more blood than lacerations to other parts of the body.

Recognition

  • Possibly unconscious for a short period of time
  • Dazed and confused for several minutes
  • Vomiting
  • Visual disturbances (seeing stars)
  • Head pain
  • Wound or bruise on the head.
  • Soft area or depression on the scalp.
  • Bruising around one or both eyes.
  • Clear fluid or watery blood coming from the nose or an ear.
  • Blood in the white of the eye.
  • Progressive deterioration in the level of response

Concussion

  • Mild head injury that causes a brief “short-circuit” of the brain
  • Essentially, the brain has been rattled within the skull
  • No damage or injury to brain tissue

Compression

  • Pressure on the brain caused by a build-up of fluids or a depressed skull fracture.
  • The brain has been bruised
  • Damage to brain tissue is likely
  • Symptoms usually worsen over time

Treatment

  • CALL 911
  • Immobilize spine if required
  • Treat for any bleeding, bruising or swelling (if you suspect a skull fracture, do not apply pressure – instead, use a thick dressing with as little pressure as possible)

Do not use direct pressure to control bleeding if the skull is depressed or obviously fractured, as this would cause further injury by compressing the brain.

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