Identifying head injuries

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Once an individual hits his/her head, various injuries can occur. It is essential to know what to watch out for when an individual hits his/her head or sustains an injury. Always bear in mind that you have to note for signs that might be a cause for alarm. During the assessment of a possible head injury, you should not assume that just because he/she appears fine after the initial assessment, he/she is in a good condition. As a first aid measure, you have to supervise the individual with head injury for hours after the injury. For serious injuries, immediate medical attention is required and make sure that you will provide support when moving the individual.

Head injuries
You have to supervise the individual with head injury for hours after the injury.

Check for any physical signs of injury

Examine the individual for injuries such as scrapes, cuts or swelling. These might need immediate medical attention. If first aid care is not given, you have to keep the individual awake for a few hours to ensure that there are no signs of a concussion or other severe medical issues. In case the individual needs to sleep, you have to wake him/her every hour and observe for any rapid eye movement during sleep.

Observe the eye movement and positioning after head injury

Even a small bump in the head can cause severe medical problems. In case the eyes are rolling back, do not hesitate to seek medical care right away. Take note that rapid eye movement can indicate a seizure.

Ask questions

If you will ask the individual questions regarding the injury, he/she must be able to answer the questions correctly. You have to ask questions that he/she knows the answers. For young children, you can ask something he/she knows such as his/her name and name of parents. If he/she does not know, you have to seek medical care.

Assess limb movement

This can be checked by raising each arm separately. The individual should try to move his/her legs. This will help identify any injury to the part of the brain that is responsible for controlling the body movements. If there are other apparent injuries in the body, avoid this step and seek medical care right away.

Assess the ear, nose and mouth

Check the ear, nose and mouth for bleeding.  If there is bleeding from the ears, it can indicate a sign of serious injury. You have to seek medical attention right away by going to a doctor or directly to the emergency department at the nearest hospital.

Important considerations to bear in mind

You have to be careful when moving anyone that might have a severe head injury. Always keep the individual still and calm until the assessment is performed. In case you are unsure about the injury, you have to take the individual to a doctor or directly to the emergency department at the nearest hospital. Take note that head injuries can be fatal if not treated right away.

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  • All stmarkjamestraining.ca content is reviewed by a medical professional and / sourced to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

  • We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable websites, academic research institutions and medical articles.

  • If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please contact us through our contact us page.