Head injury advice

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Head injuries can range from minor bruises and nose bleeds through to life threatening head and neck injuries.

If you suspect a head injury, you should contact a qualified physician immediately. It can be difficult to determine exactly how serious a head injury is so you are best to get all injuries assessed by a doctor.

While you are waiting for medical help, you can follow the below injury management tips:

  • Nose bleed – Sit forward and pinch nose. Seek help if not stopped after 30 minutes.
  • Any eye injury – if eye/s are sore, bleeding or there is blurred vision, cover both eyes and seek medical help immediately.
  • Mouth injury – if a tooth is lost or loose, rinse lost tooth, don’t rub it, and place in milk or water, transport patient to dentist ASAP.
  • Broken nose – if there is pain, swelling or deformity of the nose, administer RICER and seek medical help.
  • Broken or dislocated jaw – if there is pain, swelling and deformity administer RICER, seek medical help. Encourage the injured person to support their jaw in their hands.
  • Head injury – if the person has received a head knock, is unconscious or confused, stop the activity and make the patient safe. Seek medical help. Call an ambulance
  • Neck injury – if there is neck pain or a loss of feeling, stop the activity and do not move the patient. Make them safe and call an ambulance.

What is RICER?

Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation and Referral – these are essential elements for a quick recovery from injury.


Rest reduces further damage. Avoid as much movement as possible to limit further injury. Don’t put any weight on the injured part of the body.


Apply a cold pack to the injury for 20 minutes every 2 hours. Continue this treatment for the first 48 -72 hours. Ice cools the tissue and can reduce pain, swelling and bleeding. Place the cold pack wrapped in a towel onto the injured area. Do not apply ice or cold packs directly to the skin. Extra care must be taken with people sensitive to cold (such as children) or with circulatory problems.

The Elastoplast Hot/Cold Pack can provide soothing therapeutic relief of injuries and may help to reduce pain and swelling.


Where practical, apply a compression bandage, such as Elastoplast’s Crepe Bandage, covering the injured area as well as the areas above and below. Compression can help to reduce bleeding and swelling. Check the bandage is not too tight.


Where possible, elevate the injured area to stop bleeding and swelling. You may want to place the injured area on a pillow for comfort and support.


Refer the injured person to a qualified professional such as a doctor or physiotherapist for precise diagnosis, ongoing care and treatment. A full recovery is then more likely.


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