To give first aid to a person who has a head injury, call 911 or your local emergency number. Any of the following symptoms may indicate a serious head injury:
- Severe bleeding from the head or face.
- Bleeding or fluid leaking from the nose or ears.
- Intense headache.
- Change in consciousness for more than a few seconds.
- Black and blue discoloration under the eyes or behind the ears.
- Not breathing.
- Loss of balance.
- Weakness or inability to use an arm or leg.
- Uneven pupil size.
- Slurred speech
- Any of the symptoms for adults.
- persistent crying
- Refuse to eat
- Bump in the soft spot at the front of the babies head.
- Repeated vomiting.
Administer the following first aid steps while waiting for emergency medical help to arrive:
- Keep the person still. The injured person should lie down with their head and shoulders slightly elevated. Do not move the person unless necessary. Avoid moving the person’s neck. If the person is wearing a helmet, do not remove it.
- Stop any bleeding. Apply firm pressure to the wound with a sterile gauze or clean cloth. But don’t apply direct pressure to the wound if you suspect a skull fracture.
- Watch for changes in breathing and alertness. If the person shows no signs of circulation (not breathing, coughing, or moving), begin CPR.
Head trauma resulting in concussion symptoms should be evaluated by a medical professional. Concussion symptoms include nausea, unsteadiness, headaches, or trouble concentrating.
February 18, 2023
- head injury American College of Emergency Physicians. https://www.emergencyphysicians.org/article/know-when-to-go/head-injury. Consulted on November 6, 2020.
- Concussion danger signs. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/headsup/basics/concussion_danger_signs.html. Consulted on November 6, 2020.
- Neck or back injury. American College of Emergency Physicians. http://www.emergencycareforyou.org/emergency-101/neck-or-back-injury/#sm.000000tccxcow6ctsppinlrvo4ndj. Consulted on November 6, 2020.
- traumatic brain injury Merck Manual professional version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/injuries_poisoning/trauma_brain_injury_tbi/trauma_brain_injury.html. Consulted on November 6, 2020.
- EvansRW. Acute mild traumatic brain injury (concussion) in adults. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Consulted on November 6, 2020.
- Wilkinson JM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic. November 10, 2020.
- Bloom J, et al. Lateral assessment of concussion. https://uptodate.com/contents/search. Consulted on November 6, 2020.
- Meehan WP, et al. Minor head injury in infants and children: Management. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Consulted on November 6, 2020.
- Schutzman S. Minor Head Injury in Infants and Children: Evaluation. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Consulted on November 6, 2020.
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