Traumatic Head Injury: 5 things you need to know to save lives
Dr Rachel Teoh, MBBS, Dip Fam Med, Dip Derm
It was reported that a woman was taken to hospital after a door fell on her in the carpark lift lobby of Alexandra Central Mall last Sunday evening.
Here's what you can do.
Call 995 if you are with someone who has a severe head injury. A mild head injury may not require treatment. However, you should know signs to look for in case a problem begins. Here's what you can do to save life.
1. Begin by asking a simple question. For example, "What is your name?".This helps to verify the person's ability to phonate and to protect his/her airway. Severe injury can lead to airway obstruction, leading to death within minutes.
2. If the person is unconscious and breathing, try to stabilize their body by keeping their neck and head in line with their body.
3. If the person is awake, instruct him/her not to move his/her head and neck. This can help prevent further damage to their spine and brain.
4. If the person is unconscious and not breathing, begin the process of CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation)
5. If the person is bleeding, try to stop it by using a piece of clothing.
Mild traumatic head injury (concussion) is defined by a Glasgow Coma Scale of 13 to 15, measure at approximately 30 minutes after the injury. It results from direct external contact forces or from the brain being contused against intracranial surfaces with acceleration/deceleration trauma. The most common causes are falls, sports injuries and car/bike accidents.The head injury can cause a broken bone of the skull or face, brain injury or swelling or bleeding in or around the brain.
Symptoms depend very much on the type of injury and how severe it is. The hallmark symptoms of concussion are confusion and amnesia, sometimes preceding loss of consciousness. Other early symptoms of concussion include headache dizziness. nausea and vomiting. Symptoms can start right after a closed head injury or a few hours or days later.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice and readers are advised to seek help from the nearest hospital if you sustain head injury.