Concussions are the most common type of head injury. Most concussions are not severe, however, a concussion can signal serious brain trauma and should be treated by a medical professional.

What causes concussions?

A concussion is most often caused by a blow to the head, which, in turn, injures the brain. The severity of the concussion depends on how badly the brain is injured. However, even a small concussion can leave lasting damage.

Are concussions serious?

Concussions can cause swelling of the brain, coma, and even death. However, most concussions are not serious, and many people never even know they have had one. Because concussions can be unpredictable, it’s always best to visit your doctor whenever your child has sustained a head injury.

Can I prevent concussions?

You can prevent concussions by observing sound safety rules and avoiding head injuries.

How do I know if my child has a concussion?

A child with a concussion may be listless, tired, and cranky. He might also appear uncoordinated, be uninterested in play, and display a change in eating and sleeping habits.

How do I treat a concussion?

Doctors used to advise parents to keep their child from sleeping if they suspected a concussion. That is no longer true. You can allow your child to sleep, but be sure to wake him every four hours to assess his condition. As your child is recovering, keep him quiet and encourage him to get lots of rest. Don’t offer food or drinks for the first 12 hours. Give paracetamol for pain and discomfort. Try ice packs for external pain and swelling.

Should I call the doctor?

You should always call the doctor if your child has received more than a minor bump on the head. She will help you assess your child’s symptoms. If your child has sustained a concussion and displays any of the following symptoms, return to the doctor immediately as these may signal a medical emergency:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Seizure/convulsion
  • Headache that keeps getting worse
  • Irritability or difficulty waking
  • Loss of coordination
  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Dizziness
  • Blood or fluid discharge from the nose or ears
  • A cut that won’t stop bleeding for 10 minutes or more

What you need to know about concussion

  • A concussion is caused by a head injury.
  • Even a mild concussion can cause damage to the brain.
  • Concussions should always be treated by a medical professional.

What you need to know about comas

  • Comas are caused by and injury to the brain.
  • Recovery from a coma depends on what caused it, how severe the damage is, and how quickly your child receives treatment.
  • A coma is a life-threatening emergency.

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