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A Head's Up on Skull Fractures

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Ever since I became a mom to three boys, I am more aware of how quickly a child can sustain a head injury. From skate boarding to bicycle riding, and now to cruising on the back of a friend’s moped, the thought of a head injury to one of my kids is frightening.

While they do not always put a helmet on, you can guarantee I want my boys to wear one when they ride their bikes, skateboards, etc. Just a few summers ago, my middle son fell off of his rip stick (code for cool skateboard with only two wheels!) in a neighbor’s driveway and hit his head. After rushing him to the ER, we were pleased to learn that he did not seriously hurt himself, but a head injury can be a serious thing.

Skull fractures can occur with head injuries. The skull may be tough, resilient, and worthy of providing excellent protection, but when it sustains a large enough impact, it can break or fracture. It may also be accompanied by an injury to the brain.

A simple fracture of the skull is a break in the bone without any damage to the skin. A linear skull fracture is a break in a cranial bone that looks like a thin line, without splintering or creating a depression or distorting the bone in any way.

A depressed skull fracture is an actual break in a cranial bone. Another way of describing this is “crushed,” with a depression of the bone in towards the brain.

A compound fracture is a result of a break in or loss of skin and splintering of the bone.

There are a variety of symptoms that give evidence of a skull fracture, and these include bleeding from the wound, the ears, the nose, or around the eyes. There may be bruising behind the ears or under the eyes. The patient’s pupil’s may change in size or appear to be unequal or non-reactive to light. The patient may seem confused or disoriented. She may experience convulsions or have trouble with balance. There may be some drainage of a clear or bloody fluid from the ears or the nose. The patient may complain of being tired or of having a headache. There could be a loss of consciousness or some nausea and vomiting, restlessness, and irritability.

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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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