Problem: An estimated 5 million new head injuries
occur in the United States each year. Most such head injuries result
in nothing more serious than bumps, bruises. The bumps and bruises
that result from them are usually cared for in the home with ice, and non-aspirin
type pain relievers, but sometimes complications require emergency treatment
and hospitalization. Consult your pharmacist for recommendations
Head injuries are potentially dangerous because
brain damage may result. Indications of brain damage include unconsciousness,
headache, convulsions, vacant or dazed expression, drowsiness, vomiting
for no apparent reason, and loss of memory of the injury. There may be
unequal pupil size and paralysis.
Bleeding from the ear without any obvious
cause may indicate a fractured skull. Blood trickling from the nose together
with other head injuries may indicate a fractured skull and should be treated
as such. If the victim has a fractured or dislocated jaw, there will be
difficulty in talking and increased salivation. The teeth may seem to be
out of alignment. Do not try and set a dislocated jaw. Even if you attempt
first-aid steps, summon emergency medical assistance immediately.
That raises this often perplexing question: "When
should a head injury involve a trip to the emergency room?"
Steps to take:
For anything other than the most superficial injury, at least
call the doctor, observe the victim carefully and report all symptoms.
Such symptoms include: sleeping more than usual, or becomes difficult
to wake up, clear fluid or blood coming from the nose, ears or mouth.
Additional symptoms to report include: nausea,
vomiting, dizziness, headache, vacant or dazed expression, loss of
consciousness, seizures, lethargy, irritability, swelling, bruising, bleeding
and memory loss may be signs of a serious problem. Most such
symptoms surface within 36 hours.
Ask the doctor what to do if the victim's symptoms
change, and, ask where the doctor can be reached during the next 36 hours.
The emergency number "911"
should be called and the victim should be kept warm if he or she:
1. Is unconscious.
2. Has an arm or leg in an unusual position.
3. Complains of neck or back pain.
"911" on your telephone or tell someone to dial
"911." This is a standard
emergency telephone number across the country. It connects you with a central
police and fire rescue service. If "911" does not operate in your area,
know your local ambulance service phone number. Keep it posted on each
State clearly that this is a medical emergency.
Tell the person what is wrong with the person.
"My baby is unconscious." Tell the person your exact address.
506 S. 6th Street, 2nd floor rear Have someone wait for the rescue vehicle
to direct them to the person, if possible. At night, turn on your lights.
Start emergency care if your know what to do.
What not to do... Do
not panic or delay calling for help. Do not move the person unless
there is further danger. Do not attempt to drive yourself to the
hospital - emergency vehicles can get to you faster and often have
the equipment to start treatment immediately. Do
not hang up until told to do so by 911 personnel.
of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, December 1998
The Dangers of Concussion
" ...during the minutes to few days after concussion
injury, brain cells that are not irreversibly destroyed remain alive but
exist in a vulnerable state. This concept of injury-induced vulnerability
has been put forth to describe the fact that patients suffering from head
injury are extremely vulnerable to the consequences of even minor changes
in cerebral blood flow and/or increases in intracranial pressure and apnea....
"Experimental studies have identified metabolic
dysfunction as the key post concussion physiologic event that produces
and maintains this state of vulnerability. This period of enhanced vulnerability
is characterized by both an increase in the demand for glucose (fuel) and
an inexplicable reduction in cerebral blood flow (fuel delivery). 58 The
result is an inability of the neurovascular system to respond to increasing
demands for energy to reestablish its normal chemical and ionic environments.
This is dangerous because these altered environments can kill brain cells."
-- also see our Concussion
in Sports page
Source: The American
Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine - url: http://www.intelli.com/vhosts/aossm-isite/html/main.cgi?sub=151
Pediatric Emergency Medicine Journal - Jay D. Fisher MD FAAP,
Editor Pediatric Emergency Services, University Medical Center, Las Vegas,
Neurosurgery - Columbia-Presbyterian
This site is dedicated to providing families with information in "common
English" regarding various aspects of the field of pediatric neurosurgery.
Topics include Hydrocephalus, Spina Bifida, Chiari Malformation, Tethered
Spinal Cord, Syringohydromyelia, Craniofacial Anomalies, Tumors and Trauma.
Few outside resources are provided.