Posts for tag: Concussions
A concussion is a temporary injury to the brain often caused by a fall or a forceful blow. If your child has a concussion, it is important to seek medical help right away. While most people recover from concussions on their own within a day to a week's time, concussions can lead to other major health problems that need to be addressed, so seeking medical assistance is important.
How Do Children Get Concussions?
One common way that children get concussions is while playing contact sports. During sports, children often fall down, get knocked down, get hit or run into others - all of which can cause a concussion. This certainly is not the only way, however. Children can also get concussions as the result of falling down on the playground, fighting, or getting into a car or bicycle accident. Anything that causes a forceful blow to the head can cause a concussion.
Symptoms of a Concussion
The symptoms of a concussion can vary widely among children. While a concussion can be accompanied by an unconscious period, it doesn't have to be. Concussions that occur without an unconscious period can be just as serious.
Common physical symptoms of a concussion include: headache, dizziness, lack of coordination, blurred vision and nausea. Common mental symptoms of a concussion include: feeling confused, forgetful or unable to focus. Concussions can also cause children to be more or less sleepy or to feel anxious, sad or irritable. If your child seems "out of it" or "not himself or herself," a concussion may be to blame.
At-Home Treatment for a Concussion
If your child has unequal pupils, weakness on one side of the body or neck pain, or if your child is vomiting repeatedly, very drowsy or unconscious, call 911 immediately.
If your child seems okay, however, the doctor will probably advise you to simply monitor him or her at home. You will want to have your child rest. Your child also may want an ice pack to help with any swelling as well as an over-the-counter pain medicine to help with any pain.
Observe your child closely for 24 hours. If your child's symptoms disappear on their own, this is a good sign.
If they worsen, however, call the doctor right away. The doctor will be able to do the necessary tests and scans to look for more serious brain damage.
A hit to the head during a soccer game or a hard fall from skateboarding may result in a serious head injury and even a concussion. The American Academy of Pediatrics describes a concussion as any injury to the brain that disrupts normal brain function on a temporary or permanent basis. These injuries are typically caused by a blow to the head, most often occurring while playing contact sports such as football, hockey, soccer, wrestling or skateboarding.
For some children, concussions only last for a short while. Other times, a person can have symptoms of a concussion that last for several days or weeks following the injury. Not all symptoms of concussions will be obvious, and in some cases take several hours to set in. Look for these signs of a concussion if your child suffers a head injury:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Dizziness or loss of balance
- Memory loss or confusion
- Poor concentration
- Vision problems
- Irritability or changes in mood
- Sensitivity to light or noise
Seek Medical Attention
If your child injures his head or you believe he may have a concussion, it is important that the child discontinues play immediately and visits a healthcare provider for an evaluation. All concussions are serious and should be monitored right away. A pediatrician can properly diagnose the concussion and its severity, and then make appropriate treatment recommendations.
Rest from all activities is the best treatment for concussions. Your pediatrician can make appropriate recommendations for when the child should return to future play. Recovery time depends on the child and the severity of the concussion.
Preventing Head Injuries
Not all head injuries can be avoided, but you can do a few important things to prevent them.
- Buckle Up. Make sure your child is properly buckled up in a seat belt, car seat or booster seat.
- Safety Gear. If your child plays sports, make sure he wears appropriate headgear and other safety equipment.
- Awareness. Children should be taught how to play safe and understand the importance of reporting any type of head injury to their parent or coach.
All head injuries should be taken seriously. Early detection and treatment is the best way to prevent serious complications. It’s never a bad idea to contact your pediatrician when you have questions or concerns about your child’s head injury.