Head injuries can cause damage to the scalp, skull or the brain. The brain is located within the skull protected by a soft cushion of tissues known as meninges.
Fracture to the skull
Head injuries are usually inflicted by blunt or penetrating trauma to the head. Even though the skull does not have to be fractured, it can get one in some cases. In case the skull is soft upon touching, missing or the individual has a depressed or open skull fracture, it is important to call for emergency assistance right away. Other signs of skull fracture include clear fluid or blood draining from the nose or ears and bruising around both eyes or behind the ears.
Closed head injuries
A close head injury basically occurs to the brain while the skull is intact. Any injury to the brain results to swelling that abruptly increases the pressure inside the skull. This increased pressure causes more damage to the brain which makes the swelling worse. Other names for closed head injuries are concussions, epidural hematoma, subdural hematoma, increased intracranial pressure and intracerebral hemorrhage.
In some cases of close head injuries, it could not cause lasting damage while others such as epidural hematoma continue to worsen until the individual dies. With a CT scan, it is used to check the brain and the skull.
Signs and symptoms of closed head injuries
An individual who is struck with a blunt object must be observed for signs and symptoms of closed head injury. In case the individual has the following signs and symptoms, it is important to call for emergency assistance right away.
• Loss of consciousness at the time the injury was incurred
• Individual could not be awakened from sleeping
• Short-term memory loss
• Slow pulse
• Elevated blood pressure
First aid for head injuries
When it comes to head injuries to the head and neck, it is vital to immobilize the neck of the individual. You have to support the head in its actual position. Always remember that the bones of the spine can be damaged from movement of the head during trauma. The displaced or broken bones of the spine can add pressure or cut the nerves of the spinal cord, resulting to temporary or permanent paralysis as well as loss of sensation.
If vomiting is present, it can affect the airway of the individual. In case the individual starts to vomit and unconscious, position him/her in recovery position so that the vomit will drain from the mouth.
In case the individual suffering from head trauma does not show signs or symptoms of skull fracture or closed head injury, there is no need for him/her to stay awake. The moment the individual is asleep, you have to wake him/her 30 minutes right after going to sleep to ensure that he/she can be aroused. If you could not wake the individual 30 minutes after falling asleep, contact emergency assistance right away.