A concussion, also called a mild traumatic brain injury, is a head injury caused by the brain being shaken around inside the skull after a direct blow to the head, or a sudden jerking of the head or neck when the body is hit. Your child does not have to pass out “lose consciousness” to have a concussion. Some children will have symptoms of a concussion, such as passing out or forgetting what happened right before the injury, but others won’t.
- Sports injuries “Impact”
- Physical Assault “Shaken Baby Syndrome”
- Motor Vehicle Collision
When should my child go to the hospital?
There is more risk of complications such as bleeding and / or swelling in the brain in the first 24 to 48 hours after the injury. However, complications can happen even weeks later.
Call 911 or Go to the Hospital immediately if:
- Becomes less alert, won’t wake up, or is hard to wake up
- Doesn’t want to eat or nurse
- Loses a learned skill “for example: Toilet Training”
- Cry becomes high-pitched or the cry changes
- Is acting differently
- Is cranky or fussy
- Blood or fluid coming from the nose or ears, or bruising around the eyes or ears
- Has or acts like he or she has a headache
- Speech is slurred or has trouble speaking
- Loss of vision, blurry vision, or double vision
- Sudden weakness on one side of the body
- More than 2 episodes of uncontrollable or forceful vomiting that won’t stop
- Seizure activity “such as abnormal movements, loss of consciousness, convulsions or gazing distantly off without being able to be stimulated or respond”
What to Expect After the Injury:
– The First 48 Hours –
Make sure someone stays with your child for the first 24 hours after the concussion.
Rest & Sleep
Try to get your child to rest for the first 24 hours, it’s one of the best ways to help the brain heal. “It’s OK to let your child sleep”
You “Do Not” have to wake up your child every 2 to 3 hours in the first 24 hours. If the doctor has asked that you “Do wake them” your child should wake up easily and not show any of the warning sings previously listed.
Limit “visual stimulus”, reading, television, video games, etc within the first 48 hours. The brain “needs to rest” so that it can heal, extra stimulus may make the symptoms worse. It may also be advisable for your child to take time off from school.
Keep your child away from bright lights, loud noises or crowds for the first 48 hours, as these can make symptoms worse as well.
After a concussion, start your child on clear fluids such as “water, apple juice, ginger ale” and slowly go back to a normal diet. The fluids will help replenish needed sugar levels and help stimulate brain function, as vomiting is common in the first 24 hours fluids help keep your child hydrated and make vomiting easier.
To manage the pain “Headache”, you can help your child take “acetaminophen “such as Tylenol” for pain, use the proper dosage for the age / size of your child ‘Directions will be on the back of the bottle” Talk to your doctor about using products with ASA or NSAID’s in them “such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Advil or Motrin” these medications can increase the risk of bleeding.
– The First 4 Weeks – The symptoms below are common after a mild brain injury. They usually get better on their own within a few weeks and should not last longer than a month.
- Feeling tired “abnormal to the casualty”
- Problems falling or staying asleep
- Feeling confused, poor concentration, or slow to answer questions
- Feeling dizzy, poor balance, or poor coordination
- Being sensitive to light
- Being sensitive to sounds
- Ringing in the ears
- A mild headache, sometimes with nausea and/or vomiting
- Being irritable, having mood swings, or feeling somewhat sad or “down”
While your Child’s Brain is Healing
Most children recover from the concussion. The symptoms can take days to weeks to go away. Your child should start to feel better within a few days and be back to normal within about 4 weeks.
If your child isn’t feeling better within a few days after the injury “See your Doctor”
Expect your child to feel tired as he or she becomes more active. Make sure your child rests as needed.
If you find your child’s cranky or has mood swings, “see your Doctor if your worried”
Some children may find it hard to concentrate while their brain is healing, so make sure your child goes back to their normal activities slowly. Go back to school for half days at first, and increase as tolerated.
Ask your doctor when its okay for your child to play sports again. “The brain needs time to heal”
If your child plays sports, make sure the coach/instructor/team-mates know about your child’s concussion. “Avoid further head injuries”
“Use medicine as prescribed” See your doctor if your child still needs pain medicine for a headache longer than 2 weeks after the injury.
If your child’s Symptoms get worse at any time or you notice new symptoms from the list above, or from the first segment, call your doctor or Health Link “811 in Alberta”. You can also call the “Health Link Alberta 24/7 if you have questions about concussion/mild traumatic brain injury or any of the information in this handout.
This information was taken From Alberta Health Services “Concussion (Mild Traumatic Brain Injury) Information slip.
“This material is for information purposes only. It should not be used in place of medical advice, instruction, and/or treatment. If you have questions, speak to your doctor or appropriate healthcare provider.”
In any emergency just remember to Protect Yourself!!! Call 911!!! Don’t Waste Time!!!
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