Keeping concussions in mind


In the midst of football season, concussions become a popular topic. However, concussions can result from many other incidents than just tackles. By knowing more about causes, symptoms and care for concussions, you can better prevent a brain injury.

 

What causes a concussion?
A concussion can be caused by several things. The most well-known cause is a traumatic injury to the head, such as a fall or bump. A concussion can also result from a jarring motion of the head. For example, a rear-end car collision might cause the head to whip back and forth, making the brain shift back and forth in the head, resulting in a concussion.

What are some common signs or symptoms of a concussion?
The most common symptoms are confusion, memory loss and little recollection of the events that took place. This might include blacking out, or losing a few minutes of time when the incident occurred. Other symptoms may be headaches, balance issues, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, tiredness or strange behavior.

What does care for a concussion involve?
The treatment for a concussion differs between adults and children. If a child has no other medical problems, our first step usually involves monitoring them for a few hours. For minor cases, we avoid performing CT scans to limit radiation. Adults are more likely to have a CT scan as it’s more common for them to have underlying medical issues. Following treatment, we encourage patients to participate in brain rest, which involves limiting television, reading and screen time to allow the brain to heal.

 

The issues with concussions can last a few days to a few weeks. We always recommend people seek medical attention for any sort of head injury or suspected concussion.

Amy Koester, RN, is an emergency room nurse, caring for patients at Progress West Hospital. To learn more, visit BJCStCharlesCounty.org.

Article re-posted with permission from BJC.