Millions of Americans will suffer a concussion this year, and unlike a cut or a broken bone, a lot of people aren’t as familiar with how to best manage mild or serious head injuries. Concussion management can be difficult because there’s no wound to visualize, so it’s important to listen to the person who suffered the injury and be aware of any present symptoms. Below, we share some tips for helping someone who has suffered a concussion.
Here are five tips for managing a concussion or forceful head injury.
1. Remove From Activities – If someone suffers a head injury, it is very important to remove them from the situation that led to the injury. More than two million people will suffer a concussion during sporting activities this year alone, and it’s important that they do not try to push through the symptoms and continue with the activity. Doing so can make symptoms worse or jeopardize their health. Remove them from the game so their head is not exposed to further injury.
2. Medical Evaluation – One of the most important steps for managing a concussion is to have the person evaluated by a trained medical specialist. A trainer or medical assistant is a great start, but a neurospecialist is the best option following a traumatic head injury. They can examine the individual and make sure that brain bleeding or swelling is not jeopardizing their health, and they can walk you through a treatment protocol.
3. Rest – Rest is one of the main treatment options for individuals diagnosed with a concussion. This allows swelling to subside and can help with symptoms like sensitivity to light, confusion and headaches. Avoid physical activities like manual labor or sporting activities for a week or as long as advised by your specialist. Failing to give your head enough time to heal can lead to prolonged symptoms.
4. Slowly Increase Activity – Even if you are feeling better after a couple of days, you’re going to need to be careful about upping your physical activity after a concussion. Ease into activity and slowly build up your work load, otherwise symptoms can develop. Talk to your doctor about managing your activity level and when you have clearance for partaking in certain activities like driving, exercise or sports.
5. Watch For Long-Term Symptoms – Finally, be sure to watch for long-term symptoms, even if it seems like you’re back to full health. We can’t really visualize the damage of a concussion with the naked eye, and because the brain is one of the most complex body systems, a concussion can have hidden long-term effects. Watch for mood swings, headaches, blurred vision, confusion, dizziness or balance issues, and bring these up to your head specialist if you’re still dealing with them weeks after the initial concussion.
If you’re smart about managing your concussion, we’re confident you’ll have a great recovery. For more information about managing a head injury, or to talk to Dr. Chang about a concussion, reach out to his office today.