Signs of Concussion

Knowing how to detect the signs of a concussion can make a world of difference for someone who has sustained a head injury.

Part of the problem with concussions is that a bump on the head often looks much more severe than it really is. There is a large amount of blood that floods to the head and the scalp. This is why a head cut that is quite minor can look like it needs stitches. Therefore a large bump doesn't necessarily mean that you are experiencing one of those major head injuries.

This is not to say that a bump to the head should be ignored. On the contrary, a bump on the head should be taken quite seriously. The problem many people encounter, however, is a Chicken Little effect - they assume that a concussion is not as severe as it turns out to be.

The most common signs of a concussion are amnesia and confusion. Amnesia, or loss of memory, usually involves the accident that caused the head bump. The person who has had the injury may or may not have lost consciousness. Other signs of a concussion can include headache, nausea, dizziness and slurred speech.

Unfortunately, signs of a concussion may not show up right away, taking hours or sometimes days to develop. Late developing symptoms can include concentration problems, irritability, sensitivity to light and memory loss.

Some people can take a fall that results in head injuries, such as swelling of the brain or bleeding in the brain. Unlike a minor concussion, where the brain is only affected briefly, a head trauma such as this is caused by the brain being shaken. This type of head injury will show up in a CAT scan, unlike a typical concussion, and can result in death if not treated in a timely manner.

You have an emergency situation if the person with the head injury has unequal pupils in the eyes, walking problems or if the person has become unconscious. The person may be weak on one of both sides of the body or experience convulsions. Call emergency personnel immediately.

If you start to experience symptoms of a concussion, contact your physician for advice.

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