Parents: Know Your Concussion Symptoms
As a parent, it is essential that you know and recognize the symptoms of a concussion so you can determine when your child needs to visit a doctor after a head injury. A knock or blow to the head not only results in a headache, but the impact can result in various forms of Traumatic Brain Injury.
A concussion is the least serious type of TBI, and usually, the effects of a concussion are only temporary. But, severe injury to the brain could cause life-long issues with memory and brain function. If there is ever a question about the extent of the injury, then the best solution is to visit an urgent care or ER right away to determine the seriousness of brain trauma.
Causes of Concussions
Concussions are quite common for people participating in contact sports, such as football. Additionally, it is common for people to experience concussions from car accidents or other traumatic experiences.
The brain consists of soft tissue, which is encased in a protective barrier of spinal fluid within the skull. When the brain is jolted or moved around, it can cause damage or bruising to the nerves and blood vessels, which can affect the function of the brain.
Most people think that a helmet eliminates the risk of a concussion, but the force of the impact can also cause violent shaking of the head that causes internal brain injuries. The jarring contact can cause the brain to move within the skull. Any time a blow to the head occurs, it is important to watch for signs of a concussion.
3 Types of Concussions
The categorization of concussions varies depending on the severity of the symptoms. Your doctor will determine the type of concussion based on these factors:
Grade 1 Concussion
This category is the mildest type of concussion. Usually, the person does not lose consciousness, and the symptoms last for 15 minutes or less.
Grade 2 Concussion
Again, there is no loss of consciousness. But the concussion symptoms are present for more than 15 minutes.
Grade 3 Concussion
With this category of concussion, the person loses consciousness.
Watch for These Concussion Symptoms
At first, the symptoms and signs of a concussion tend to be subtle, and they usually don’t manifest immediately. Pay close attention to the person for the next few hours after the injury to see if any of the following symptoms start to pop up:
- Pressure or tightness within the head
- Loss of consciousness temporarily
- “Seeing stars” or other vision disturbances
- Feeling like you are in a fog
- Amnesia (not remembering the trauma or events before the accident)
- Ear ringing
- A dazed look in the eyes
- Delayed response to a conversation
- Slurred speech
Keep in mind that the symptoms of a concussion can be present for days or even weeks. With time and proper medical treatment, the patient can often experience a full recovery. If the symptoms of a concussion are delayed, then the signs might be more subtle and seem unrelated to the head injury. Delayed symptoms of a concussion might include:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Memory or concentration problems
- Personality changes
- Change in smell and taste
- Sensitivity to noise and light
Even if it has been days or weeks after the injury, it is best to seek medical attention if you begin noticing the above symptoms.
Concussion Symptoms in Children
Young children often hit their heads, especially as they are learning to balance and walk. Not only are children figuring out how to move, but their heads are disproportionately large compared to their body size. Since they are “top-heavy,” it increases the likelihood of falling and hitting the head.
Children tend to be resilient, and one bump on the head doesn’t necessarily mean that the child has a concussion. Parents need to understand that the symptoms of a concussion can be challenging to recognize in young children, especially because they don’t have the language capabilities to tell you how they feel.
Here are a few clues that your child might be suffering from a concussion and needs medical help:
- A dazed appearance
- Excessive crying
- Unsteady walking
- Loss of balance
- Crankiness and irritability
- Change in sleeping or eating patterns
- Disinterested in their favorite toys
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the recommendation is that you should consult a doctor for more than a light bump on the child’s head. Watch the child’s behavior after the injury occurs. For example, if they are hit on the head, cry for a few minutes, and then return to their play activities, then they probably don’t need medical attention. Make sure that the child remains alert and responds normally in interactions, which are also indicators that the brain function is normal.
What to Do After a Head Injury
Parents should monitor their children to watch for signs of a concussion immediately after a head injury. Pay close attention to see if any additional symptoms come up within the next few hours or days after the injury. If you notice that the symptoms are getting worse, then the best thing you can do is to take your child to the emergency room immediately. Avoid giving the child medication, especially anything containing aspirin, since it can cause bleeding.
It is recommended that people suffering from a concussion shouldn’t return to normal activities until the symptoms are gone. Rigorous activities should be minimized as much as possible. For example, if it is suspected that an athlete has a concussion, then they should not return to the playing field until a trained medical professional has completed a thorough evaluation.
Additionally, you should protect against repeat head injuries in the future. The cumulative effects of repeat concussions can have long-lasting consequences, potentially resulting in disabilities or even death.
When ER Services are Needed for a Concussion
How do you know when it is time to go to the emergency room after a head injury? Some people hesitate to seek medical care because they don’t want to pay the costs of visiting the ER. But it is best to talk to a doctor if you think the person might have a concussion. When you choose iCare ER and Urgent Care, we promise that you never pay ER prices if ER services aren’t required. Since our team provides multiple specialties in the same office, you have the benefit of choosing either ER or urgent care services, depending on the severity of the condition.
Always seek emergency medical services for a child or adult who has a head injury that coincides with these symptoms:
- Repeated vomiting
- Loss of consciousness, especially if it lasts longer than 30 seconds
- The severity of a headache increases with time
- Changes in speech, such as slurring their words while talking
- Disorientation or confusion, such as difficulty recognizing places or people
- Physical or mental coordination issues
- Pupils are dilated, or the eyes have different sized pupils
- A large bruise or bump on the head
If you are looking for local medical support, then our team is always here to assist. Walk-ins are welcome, or you can call ahead to schedule an appointment to meet with one of our board-certified medical staff members. We provide both emergency support and urgent care treatments for a range of health conditions. Contact iCare ER and Urgent Care to learn more about available services: (214) 407-8668.