Head Injury Treatment – Introduction
All head injuries are potentially serious and require proper assessment because they can result in impaired consciousness. Injuries may be associated with damage to the brain tissue or to blood vessels inside the skull, or with a skull fracture.
A head injury may produce concussion, which is a brief period of unconsciousness followed by complete recovery. Some head injuries may produce compression of the brain (cerebral compression), which is life-threatening. It is therefore important to be able to recognise possible signs of cerebral compression – in particular, a deteriorating level of response.
A head wound should alert you to the risk of deeper, underlying damage, such as a skull fracture, which may be serious. Bleeding inside the skull may also occur and lead to compression. Clear fluid or watery blood leaking from the ear or nose are signs of serious injury. These factors will determine the head injury treatment required.
Any casualty with an injury to the head should be assumed to have a neck (spinal) injury as well and be treated accordingly.
Concussion is usually caused by a blow to the head which ‘shakes’ the brain inside the skull, but it can also result from indirect force, such as landing heavily on your feet.
Signs and symptoms of concussion –
- Blow to the head
- Short period of being dazed and confused
- Brief loss of memory
Compression is bleeding inside the skull or swelling of the injured part of the brain, usually caused by a blow to the head. This results in a very serious life-threatening condition called cerebral compression. The casualty will need urgent medical or surgical treatment.
Signs and symptoms of concussion:
- Deteriorating level of response
- History of head injury
- Severe headache
- Unequal pupil size
- Weakness and/or paralysis down one side of body or face
- Change in behaviour
- Noisy breathing
- Slow, strong pulse
- High temperate and flushed face
If you believe a casualty may have a head injury you should:
- Check their level of response – are they alert and responding normally? Do they respond to your voice? Do they respond to pain? Are they unconscious?
- If the casualty is conscious and responsive help them sit or lie down, monitor their responses and if they develop a headache, blurred vision, nausea or excessive sleepiness get medical help
- If the casualty is unconscious, leave them in the position you have found them and open their airway using the jaw-thrust method as follows:
- Kneel behind the casualty’s head and position your hands on either side of their face with your fingertips at the angles of their jaw. Gently lift the jaw forwards with your fingers, making sure you do not tilt the head back. Check their breathing. If the casualty is not breathing perform CPR and get emergency medical help.
Preventing a head injury
Although it can be difficult to predict or avoid a head injury, there are some steps you can take to help reduce the risk of serious injury to you or your child.
- wearing a safety helmet when cycling
- reducing hazards in the home that may cause a fall
- ‘childproofing’ your home
- using the correct safety equipment for work, sport and DIY
Head Injury Treatment – GK First Aid Training offer a number of First Aid Courses that deal with Head Injuries. We offer both the 1 Day Emergency First Aid at Work and the 3 Day First Aid at Work Course. Both of these courses can be delivered directly to you in your workplace. Call us directly on 0800 774 7034 to discuss your requirements.