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What Should You Do If a Loved One Sustains a Head Injury?

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Head injuries, in which a person sustains trauma that damages the skull or brain, is one of the leading causes of death and disability in adults, according to the Ohio State University Medical Center. A head injury can be closed (the skull does not break from the trauma) or open (the skull is fractured due to the trauma). Several types of head injuries exist: concussions, contusions, skull fractures, scalp wounds and hematoma. With a concussion, the brain is shaken, while with a contusion, the brain is bruised. If a person develops a hematoma from a head injury, she has a blood clot in the brain, such as underneath the skull (epidural hematoma), underneath the skull and dura (subdural hematoma), or within the brain tissue (intracerebral hematoma).

So what should you do if a loved one sustains a head injury? Look for signs that require medical attention. MedlinePlus noted that you should call 911 if you see that the patient has vomited more than once, begins to behave abnormally, complains of a stiff neck or a severe headache, becomes abnormally drowsy, or loses consciousness. Even if the patient only loses consciousness briefly, medical attention needs to be sought. Other signs to look for include seizures, abnormal breathing, paralysis, unequal pupil size, and a clear fluid or bleeding from the patient's mouth, ear or nose.

There are specific things you should not do if a loved one has sustained a head injury. This includes not picking up a child who has fallen that you suspect has a severe head injury, shaking the person, removing the object in the wound, washing the wound if it is either bleeding a lot or is deep, or taking off the helmet of a person that you suspect has a severe head injury. Only move a person who has sustains a head injury if it is absolutely necessary.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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