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Taking Care of a Head Injury at Home

The brain is a soft organ, protected by the facial bones and skull. Unfortunately, the protective covering of the brain can become a problem in the event of an aviation accident, sporting injury, car accident, or other situation in which a knock to the head or a sudden jolt causes the brain to move around and hit the hard bone surfaces. In these cases, the brain can swell and bleed, leading to brain injury.

Brain injuries occur to many victims each year in Florida and across the country. If you suffer a brain injury – even a seemingly minor injury such as a mild concussion – it is important to seek help right away. Concussions are the most common type of head injury, but even these common injuries can cause memory loss, pain, and other problems.

Any time you or a loved one sustains a head injury – even a seemingly minor one – it is important to seek medical attention right away. This is important because it is hard to evaluate the seriousness of this type of injury. When you visit the emergency department of a hospital for your injury, you can expect that you will be placed under observation and given painkillers if you are in pain or tablets for any nausea or vomiting you may be experiencing. You may be given an x-ray or a CT scan to help doctors diagnose your injuries.

It is important to follow any directions you are given to you by doctors. Until a doctor tells you otherwise, avoid eating or drinking. Some tests you may need will require an empty stomach. If you are not sure whether you can eat or drink, ask the doctor looking after your case. Be sure to tell the doctor which medications you are currently taking. If you are taking specific types of medications – such as sedatives – you might need to suspend their use for a little while after your injury.

Once you are released after having your injury looked after, avoid driving home. Call a taxi or ask someone to drive you home. Make sure that someone can stay with you for at least the first 24 hours after your head injury. If you suddenly get worse or need help, it will be useful for you to have someone nearby who can call for help.

Once you arrive home, rest and relax for at least a day or two to give your body a chance to recover. Be especially careful to avoid any activities that might cause a second head injury. A secondary brain injury – even a minor one – when you already have a minor brain injury can result in complications. If there are any areas of your head that are painful or swollen, apply icepacks. Unless your doctor has told you otherwise, do not eat or drink in the first six to twelve hours after your injury. When you can eat again, do so in moderation and avoid alcohol for another 24 hours after your injury.