Head injuries are injuries caused to the scalp, skull, and brain. Head injury is generally confused with concussions. Concussions are the most common type of sports-related traumatic brain injury. Around 1.6-3.8 million sports-related concussion cases are reported every year. Head injuries can be either closed or open. Closed injuries are not harmful as it does not break your skull or cause any damage to it. An open head injury can break the skull and cause damage to the brain.
A closed head injury is when you receive a hard blow from striking an object, but no damage has been caused to the skull. An open head injury is also called penetrating head injury. In open head injury, the object can break your skull and enter the brain causing severe damage(1).
A head injury can be a mild bump or a bruise and in severe cases, it can lead to traumatic brain injury. The most common head injuries include concussions, skull fractures, and scalp wounds. Head injuries can cause bleeding in brain tissues and in the layers surrounding the brain.
Head injuries are classified into different types based on the severity.
The clotting of blood outside the blood vessels is referred to as a hematoma. The person will lose consciousness if the clotting causes pressure to build inside the skull.
Uncontrolled bleeding leads to hemorrhage(2). Bleeding is seen mostly in open head injuries. Bleeding in the spaces around the brain is called subarachnoid hemorrhage and bleeding within the brain tissue is called intracerebral hemorrhage.
Concussion is a severe brain injury that occurs when your brain bounces against the walls of your skull. A concussion is usually temporary and repeated concussions may lead to permanent damage.
Any head injury can lead to edema or swelling. Swelling is generally seen in the surrounding tissues. The condition is severe when the swelling is seen in the brain.
[Read: Natural Remedies for Edema]
As the skull does not have bone marrow, it is difficult to break the skull when compared to other bones of your body. Skull damage may cause direct damage to the brain.
There are many different causes of head injury. The most common causes of head injury include:
Head injury symptoms may appear soon after the injury or in few cases it takes several hours. The common signs of head injury include:
People should learn to recognize head injury before giving basic first aid. You need to take medical help right away if the person:
If the above following conditions are not seen in the patient, then you can give the first aid by following these few easy steps. The following basic steps should be kept in mind while dealing with a person with head injury until the medical help arrives.
Initial first aid is a must in accidental head injury. Medical assistance should be provided in severe cases. Sports-related head injuries are common and thus athletes need to be careful while playing outdoor games.
People who ride vehicles also come across most of the head injuries due to road accidents. Head injury can be prevented by taking minimum care while outdoors.
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The symptoms of a brain injury could last up to 4 weeks. They could be subtle and could even go unnoticed until you return to normalcy. These symptoms could fluctuate in intensity, however, they should overall improve with time.
Yes, contrary to popular belief, children are often sleepy, once they have knocked their heads and have cried a lot. It is perfectly okay to let them sleep, once even after they have hurt their head. However, do see if there is any bleeding or blood, else you are good to go.