According to research conducted by MedlinePlus, presented by the National Institute of Health, a head injury can be defined as “any trauma to the scalp, skull, or brain.” Even if the brain has resulted from a minor bump on the head, the result can be extremely damaging and may require medical attention.
There can be many causes of a head injury ranging from an accident while playing sports, working outdoors, or simply being inside one’s home. While some of these head injuries can come about through a fall, they can also be caused by a physical assault, traffic accident, or some other type of complex situation. No matter how the injury might have occurred, the fact remains that some injuries are so severe that they might require extended treatment.
Although, our skulls are there to protect our brains from harm, some injuries can gravely sully this sensitive tissue. To understand these potential threats to the body, one must first understand that there are two unique types of head injuries:
- Closed: Although, there is a head injury, the skull did not break as a result.
- Open/penetrating: The head injury caused the skull to break and potentially could have entered the brain.
As one can assume, the latter is far more serious and can cause bleeding in the brain tissue and hemorrhaging. Other symptoms from either type can include bruising, bleeding outside of the head, a concussion, as well as other serious symptoms.
Although, some head injuries can be simply kept cool with ice, others bear much more consideration. If someone has suffered a severe head injury it is essential to immediately render first aid, after calling 911, in order prevent them from suffering further damages:
- Check the individual’s airway to ensure that they are breathing.
- Stabilize the injured party’s head and neck by keeping the head in line with the spine. Try to prevent movement as much as possible.
- Stop all bleeding by pressing a cloth or bandage to the wound. If blood soaks through the cloth, do not remove it; simply place another cloth over it.
- Do not apply pressure onto the bleeding site nor try to remove any wayward debris.
- If the individual is vomiting, try to limit movement as much as possible but tilt the individual onto their side, moving them as one unit.
- Apply ice packs to any areas that are swollen.
How to tell if an injury is serious
If a person displays these signs after a head injury, call 911 immediately!
- They are extremely tired.
- Behavior is abnormal.
- Has a severe headache or develops a stiff neck.
- Pupils are unequal sizes.
- Unable to move arms or legs.
- Loses consciousness, even if they then regain it.
- Vomits multiple times.
Additionally, the Brain Injury Resource Center also has a more elaborate checklist that one can use in order to gauge the severity of a head injury. Using it can allow one better insight into whether or not they need to contact authorities immediately.