Head Injury Symptoms

Head Injury Symptoms

Head injury is the term used to describe any trauma to the head.  Most often it is specifically referring to injury or trauma to the brain.  Head injuries can be serious and potentially lethal. There is a broad range of types of head injury. These include:

1.       Skull Fractures: This is a break in the bone (known as the skull) surrounding the brain.  There are three types of skull fracture; linear skull fracture, depressed skull fractures, basilar skull fracture.

2.       Intracranial (inside the skull) Hemorrhage (bleeding): This is caused by bleeding inside the skull (and sometimes the brain) due to head injury. Types include subdural hematoma, epidural hematoma, subarachnoid hemorrhage, intraparenchymal hemorrhage/cerebral contusion.

3.       Closed head injuries: Closed head injuries describe any injury that is not caused by a penetrating trauma and not listed as one of the types above.  It is a very broad range of injuries from minor to severe.

Depending on the nature of the injury, head traumas fall into two types:

  • Penetrating head injury trauma is caused by missiles ( like a bullet) or objects that penetrate the skull (such as a knife or screwdriver)
  • Blunt head injury trauma is suffered from a blow to the head from something such as a club or ball. Rapid deceleration injuries such as striking a car windshield or falling onto a surface fall in this category also.

Head injury symptoms vary greatly depending on the person, nature and severity of the injury. The following symptoms assume head injury is known to have occured or suspected.

Minor blunt head injuries symptoms may include

  • Feeling dazed or a brief loss of consciousness
  • Headaches
  • Visual disturbances such as blurred vision
  • Limited nausea and vomiting.
  • Symptoms such as insomnia, lack of concentration, low tolerance to noise and light, and personality disturbances like irritability. These may last for a prolonged period of time.

Severe blunt head trauma symptoms involves:

  • Unconsciousness lasting from two or more minutes,up to days or weeks.
  • Seizures
  • Possible permanent neurological deficits. These deficits are similar to those seen in stroke, such as difficulty speaking, walking and understanding and/or paralysis
  • Death can result

Penetrating head trauma symptom:

These can look minor and develop to a potentially life-threatening situation.  The symptoms are the same as those of serious blunt head trauma.  This is generally always treated as a serious life threatening injury.

As a rule of thumb; all potentially serious head injury trauma and symptoms should be treated by emergency medical personnel.  Surgery or observation may be necessary. Follow your doctor’s recommended course of treatment.

Children’s developing skulls do not provide the protection the mature adult skull does to the brain. All head trauma in children should be treated as potentially serious.

Imaging such as x-ray and scans of the head and brain are needed to determine if head injury is possibly serious.  A head injury that only appears minor on the surface may actually be life threatening underneath the skull.  Head injury symptoms can quickly become life threatening with little or no warning. Readily available treatment may increase chances of survival.

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