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Concussions

What should be done if a person suffers a concussion?

         People with a concussion need to be seen by a doctor. Most people with concussions are treated in an emergency department or a doctor's office. Some people must stay in the hospital overnight for further treatment. Sometimes the doctors may do a CT scan of the brain or do other tests to help diagnose your injuries. Even if the brain injury doesn't show up on these tests, you may still have a concussion.

         Your doctor will send you home with important instructions to follow. For example, your doctor may ask someone to wake you up every few hours during the first night and day after your injury. Be sure to carefully follow all your doctor's instructions. If you are already taking any medicines - prescription, over-the-counter, or "natural remedies" - or if you are drinking alcohol or taking illicit drugs, tell your doctor. Also, talk with your doctor if you are taking "blood thinners" (anticoagulant drugs) or aspirin, because these drugs may increase your chances of complications. If it's all right with your doctor, you may take acetaminophen (for example, TylenolR* or PanadolR*) for headache or neck pain.

What are the danger signs for adults?  

         In rare cases, along with a concussion, a dangerous blood clot may form on the brain and crowd the brain against the skull. Contact your doctor or emergency department right away if, after a blow or jolt to the head, you have any of these danger signs:

*          Headaches that get worse
*          Weakness, numbness, or decreased coordination
*          Repeated vomiting

The people checking on you should take you to an emergency department right away if you:

*          Cannot be awakened
*          Have one pupil - the black part in the middle of the eye - larger than the other
*          Have convulsions or seizures
*          Have slurred speech
*          Are getting more and more confused, restless, or agitated


What are the danger signs for children?

Take your child to the emergency department right away if the child has received a blow or jolt to the head and:

*          Has any of the danger signs for adults listed above
*          Won't stop crying
*          Can't be consoled
*          Won't nurse or eat

         Although you should contact your child's doctor if your child vomits more than once or twice, vomiting is more common in younger children and is less likely to be an urgent sign of danger than it is in an adult. 

What are some of the common symptoms?

         The type of brain injury called a concussion has many symptoms. These symptoms are usually temporary, but may last for days, weeks, or even longer. Generally, if you feel that "something is not quite right," or if you're "feeling foggy," you should talk with your doctor.

Here are some of the symptoms of a concussion:  

*          Low-grade headaches that won't go away
*          Having more trouble than usual:
*          Remembering things
*          Paying attention or concentrating
*          Organizing daily tasks
*          Making decisions and solving problems
*          Slowness in thinking, acting, speaking, or reading
*          Getting lost or easily confused
*          Neck pain


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