Preventing, Recognizing, and Responding to a Concussion

Jul 11, 2013
Tagged with: Preventing, Recognizing, and Responding to a Concussion

Although you obviously go through life taking every possible step to stay safe, and to protect your loved ones from harm, there are certain things that simply can’t be avoided. Accidents and injuries occur all the time, and many times, these issues are nobody’s fault. Unfortunately, that doesn’t help those left to suffer with the physical and mental damage done by an unforeseen car accident, a tumble down the stairs, a slip and fall, or a million other things that can cause trauma. The most serious of injuries, outside of cardiac arrest and severe bleeding, is head trauma. In minor accidents, there are many instances where a person isn’t even aware he or she has suffered head trauma and may not show any symptoms of illness or disorientation for hours. However, with injuries such as concussions, what you don’t see can in fact hurt you.

A concussion is defined as a type of minor head injury, one that is often caused by trauma to the head such as falling and striking the head, being hit in the head with an object, or suddenly being propelled forward so that the brain responds in a way similar to as if the person has been shaken. Concussions are fairly common injuries, and account for a large percentage of sports injuries that present in the emergency room. Estimates are that, in any given year, 6 out of every 1,000 people will suffer from this ailment. People, such as professional athletes, who have previously recovered from a concussion are more likely to develop another. Likewise, those who sustain injuries likely to cause concussions without any damage are less likely to suffer the problem in the future.

While diagnosis of any type of head trauma should be made in a clinical setting by a skilled physician, the average person should be aware of signs exhibited by a concussed individual so that treatment can be sought immediately. After suffering minor head injury, a person is likely to act in a way that indicated feeling dazed or disoriented. The patient may seem absolutely fine for hours after an injury, only then exhibiting loss of coordination, spatial dysfunction, personality changes, and finally, severe lethargy and inability to stay conscious. If a person has been in an accident or sustained an injury where this outcome is a possibility, it is a good idea to seek medical attention even if the patient is not currently exhibiting symptoms. If the patient is exhibiting symptoms, it is important to take them to the emergency room or doctor’s office immediately. In addition, if the patient seems disoriented, not lucid, or struggling to stay awake, it is important to keep the person from falling asleep. Symptoms of concussions may look, to outsiders, similar to those of a person who has consumed too much alcohol.

Treatment for concussion usually involves rest and limited physical and mental strain for two to three weeks. During the first 24 hours, the patient will be monitored, given pain relievers, and encouraged not to sleep. In some cases, hospitalization is necessary to keep an eye on possible brain swelling. Most people make a full recovery with minor discomfort within a two to three week period.

 

 

 

 

TryMunity is a non-profit organization whose goal is to increase awareness and provide support for those affected by traumatic brain injury. You can follow TryMunity on Twitter.

Author: Shelly Duell