Taking the Right Steps to Minimize the Consequences of a Head Injury
It may seem like just a bump to the head, but any impact involving your skull or chin can causea concussion. When you’ve had a blow to the head, the first 24to48 hours are extremely important, as there’s always a risk of bleeding or swelling in the brain. If the swelling is substantial, it can lead to pressure from the skull. Here are some do’s and don’ts for the first 48 hours after any type of head trauma:
- Don’t go to sleep for at least three hours—You may feel extremely tired and believe that rest is the best prescription. However, your condition can get dramatically worse in the first three hours. It will be difficult to determine if your condition is worsening if you are asleep. Instead, find someone to keep you engaged and talking so that your speech and other conditions can be actively monitored. If you are having difficulty talking, maintaining balance, or understanding, it’s time to go to the hospital. If three hours pass and you’re not getting worse, sleep is fine.
- Avoid screens or loud music until you’ve had an examination.
- Stay away from caffeine until your doctor says it’s okay.
- Don’t take any medication without consulting a medical professional—Drugs can temporarily hide symptoms of a concussion or increase the risk of bleeding in the brain.
- Schedule an appointment within two days of your injury (if not sooner)—With almost any head injury, it’s advisable to see a doctor as soon as possible. As with most health issues, the sooner you are examined and have a definitive diagnosis, the more options you will have and the greater likelihood of recovery.
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