Identifying and Treating Head Injury
It’s not uncommon for kids to fall, or hit their head while playing. Some injuries to the head can cause lasting symptoms, or may become more severe if not treated. While some head injuries may show obvious signs like bleeding, some do not, so it is important to always treat them seriously and have them assessed by a doctor.
Common types of head injuries:
- Concussion – There is more and more information available about the long-term side effects of concussion, especially for athletes. A concussion happens when a hit to the head moves the brain back and forth inside the skull, causing chemical changes in the brain and sometimes damage to the brain cells. Loss of consciousness can happen, but not always, so that should not be the only symptom you look for if you or a child experiences a hard hit to the head.
- Contusion – also called a bruise, it happens when a hit to the head injures the skin and soft tissue. They often happen on the scalp or forehead, but a more serious head injury can cause damage to the soft tissue in the brain.
- Skull Fracture – just like it sounds, a break in the skull bone. They can happen in all different parts of the skull.
- Bleeding – can happen on or under the scalp, and in or around the brain.
How do I know? Common Signs and Symptoms of a Head Injury in Children include:
- A swollen scalp – this one is common because of the many small blood vessels found in the scalp. It can also be hard to identify when covered by hair. Watch for tenderness and swelling if there is a hit to the head and consult with a physician about treatment needed.
- Headache – this occurs in about 50% of children with a head injury. While pain can be treated with pain relief medications, it’s best to consult with a physician before administering any at-home treatments to determine if further care is needed.
- Loss of Consciousness – Kids are very resilient and while it isn’t as common for children to lose consciousness, it can be serious and you should seek immediate care.
- Vomiting once or twice – this happens in some children after a head injury. If you notice vomiting after a hit to the head, consult a physician and seek immediate care.
If you suspect that you or one of your children has a head injury, it’s imperative that you seek care immediately. Even a seemingly mild head injury can have serious and long-term effects. At Texas Emergency Care Center, we are equipped to evaluate and monitor a wide array of head injuries and symptoms such as:
- Severe Headache
- Loss of Consciousness
- Slurred/Impaired Speech
- TIA – Transient Ischemic Attacks
- Head Injuries