Since one of the more common accidents, especially in children, involves a bump to the head, it is important to know the signs of concussion so that it can be addressed promptly.
The term concussion refers to a brain injury that resulted from a severe impact to the head. But concussion is not caused by head impact alone, it can also be a result of violent shaking of the body. Though it may be not life-threatening, the effects and signs of concussion can be felt in short or long term periods.
Concussion is very common, it can happen to anyone and some people don’t even realize that they are already having a mild concussion. The human brain is made up of soft tissues which are cushioned by the spinal fluid and protected by the human skull. In times of head injury, the brain is shaken and moves around the skull causing the brain to bang against the inner walls and lead to bruising and tearing of the brain tissues. These injuries may range from mild, which may sometimes heal on its own after a few days of rest, to severe that results to bleeding that may lead to grave situations. It is very important to identify the different signs of concussion to avoid getting into more difficult circumstances.
Signs and Symptoms of Concussion
The most common signs of concussion are as follows:
• Temporary loss of consciousness
• Loss of balance
• Confusion as if in a foggy environment or unaware of what’s happening
• Feeling dazed or stunned
• Ringing in the ears or tinnitus
• Vision disturbances such as double vision or flashing lights
• Memory difficulties – may occur in two different forms: retrograde amnesia and anterograde amnesia. Retrograde amnesia is a form of memory loss wherein the affected person cannot remember the events that occurred before the accident/concussion. Anterograde amnesia is a form of memory loss wherein the affected person cannot process new information into the brain’s memory after the accident. This condition may usually get better or improve after a few hours.
Less common signs of concussion:
• Slurred speech
• Vacant stare or glassy eyes
• Behavioral changes (i.e. gets easily annoyed or irritable)
• Abrupt emotional response or sudden change of emotional state (i.e. sudden burst into laughter)
• Perseverating – a condition wherein the patient keeps doing the same thing over and over again even despite the termination of the original stimulus.
Symptoms of concussion in children:
• Gets tired easily
• Changes in sleeping and eating pattern
• Loss of balance like unsteady walking
• Loss of interest even on the child’s favorite toys or activities
Signs of Concussion and Doctor’s Help
The signs to watch out for that needs immediate medical attention include:
• Severe headache
• Increased confusion
• Increased sleepiness
• Repeated vomiting
• Weakness in some parts of the body like an arm or leg
• Difficulties in mental and physical coordination
In most cases, the signs of concussion would resolve on its own for a couple of hours or after a few days. Most are advised to rest to avoid post concussion syndrome. But if the above symptoms still persist or get worse, it is best to seek medical help immediately.