Head & Spine Injuries – Part 3 “Concussion & Scalp Injuries”
As mentioned in the previous post, Head and Spine injuries are very common and can be fatal, those who also survive injuries from Head or Spinal injuries can have physical difficulties and problems from either brain or spine damage. But what happens if the injury is localized to just the head or scalp? What happens if the face or jaw are compromised from the injuries or damage? What issues can a Concussion cause in the short term and or long term?
A Concussion has had a long history of being misunderstood with many wives tales on how to treat and or fix it. Lets focus on what a Concussion actually is: A Concussion happens when a blow to the head or body “ie: whiplash, Shaken Baby Syndrome” causes the brain to shake inside the skull. This can result in bleeding and or swelling in or around the brain. A Concussion can be mild, serious or even somewhere in between.
Scalp Injuries we will also bring into this post as they often occur simultaneously with the head injuries. Scalps are very vascular and can bleed quite heavily and have hidden injuries under the hair or flesh. It is always recommended to consider Scalp injuries as a Head / Neck or Spine injury.
Causes Of Concussion’s & Scalp Injuries
- -Forceful movements of the head
- -Violent blows to the face or jaw
- -Shaking “Shaken Baby Syndrome“
- -Motor vehicle collision
- -Impact to the body and head
What to Look for: “Concussion“
- -Many times, if someone lose consciousness, it is normally only for a short period of time, although sometimes it lasts several minutes. It is a temporary condition.
- -Phrases like “I blacked out” or “I saw stars” are common
- -Victim may complain of confusion or even memory loss
- -The majority of concussions do not result in any altered level or loss of consciousness.
- -Head Injuries that may include scalp injuries or bleeding
How to help with a Concussion or Scalp Injury:
1) Check the area, once the area is safe, Check the person and ensure the persons ABC’s are present “Airway / Breathing / Circulation” REMEMBER – Wear gloves if available to avoid bodily fluids.
2) Call 911 and get an AED if you are alone, you suspect a Head / Neck or Spine injury, there is a motor vehicle collision, dangerous environment or the injured persons life could be at risk.
3) Care for the Concussion or Scalp Injury by:
Always follow recommendations by your Emergency Response professionals and 911 Dispatch personnel. “Never endanger yourself or the victim, you may “not” need to move or roll the injured person”
- – If there are other life threatening injuries, treat those first as quickly as possible with as little movement to the injured person.
- – If you feel a dip, or a soft area or a piece of bone on the scalp, put gentle direct pressure on the wound with gauze and bandages to slow the bleeding “Direct Pressure / Pressure Bandages / Pressure Points“. Try to control the bleeding with pressure on and around the wound. Never press into a compromised scull or soft spot.
- – Make sure you move the Head / Neck or Spine as little as possible, even slight movement may cause further injuries.
- -Place your hands on both sides of the injured person’s head. Gently support the person’s head in the position in which you find it until EMS personnel arrive.
- – If the injured person is wearing a helmet, leave it on unless it makes it difficult for you to ensure the ABC’s “Airway, Breathing, Circulation” are present.
- -If the person is laying face down in water / mud or if their airway could be compromised due to their position or injuries, roll the person using the H.A.IN.E.S technique or with multiple partners use the “H.A.IN.E.S Log Roll“, insuring that you keep the head / neck & spine in a the position you find them even as you roll them. Never “straighten” an injured victim suspected of Head / Neck or Spine injuries.
- -Continue care until further help arrives.
If the person vomits, carefully roll them onto one side to keep the airway clear.
- -Check the Airway to make sure the person is still breathing. If they are not breathing “Start CPR” 30 Compression’s, 2 breaths for all age groups.
In any emergency just remember to Protect Yourself!!! Call 911!!! Don’t Waste Time!!!
We never know what can happen, its always good to be prepared and have the knowledge we need to help those who need it.
“This material is for information purposes only and is taken from The Canadian Red Cross / Alberta Heart & Stroke Foundation & Alberta Health Services. This information should not be used in place of medical, Technical advice, instructor, and/or treatment. If you have questions, speak to your local Physician or Safety Training Facility.”
Protect Yourself!!! Call 911!!! Don’t Waste Time!!!