What is a concussion?
A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). It can occur after an impact to your head or after a whiplash-type injury that causes your head and brain to shake quickly back and forth. An altered mental state including becoming unconscious may result due to a concussion.
Anyone can become injured during a fall, car accident, or any other daily activity. If you participate in impact sports such as football or boxing, you have an increased risk of getting a concussion. Once an accident occurs, concussions generally can cause not life-threatening and serious symptoms that will necessitate appropriate medical treatment. A concussion is different from a contusion. A concussion specifically affects your brain, but contusions are bruises. Contusions can occur on your head, but they aren't typically serious and tend to resolve within several days.
Symptoms - Recognizing the signs and symptoms of a concussion
The severity of the injury and the nature of the person injured decide the symptoms. It's not true that a loss of consciousness always occurs with a concussion. Some people do experience a loss of consciousness, but others don't.
The signs and symptoms of someone else having a concussion should be well understood when you're having a concussion.
Symptoms you may experience
The signs of a concussion may include:
Drowsiness or feeling sluggish
Double vision or blurred vision
Nausea or vomiting
Sensitivity to light or noise
Slowed reaction to stimuli
The symptoms may begin immediately, or they may not develop for hours, days, weeks, or even months following your injury.
The following symptoms should be experienced in the recovery period after a concussion.
Sensitivity to light or noise
Signs of concussion in a loved one
Somebody known to you could have a concussion and they may not be aware of it. The following are some of the signs to look out for:
Loss of coordination
Draining of blood or clear fluid from the ears or nose
Unequal pupil size
Abnormal eye movement
Brief loss of consciousness after the injury
An inability to wake up (also called a coma)
Seek immediate emergency medical treatment or call 911 if you or someone you know experiences any of these symptoms above after an injury.
Concussion symptoms in babies
Concussion symptoms can vary in babies. Babies will generally have the following common signs in case of a concussion:
Drainage from their mouth, ears, or nose
Rarely, concussions can cause permanent brain damage. While most babies recover from concussions, it's important to have them checked out by a doctor. Seek immediate medical help if your baby is unconscious.
Emergency symptoms: When to see a doctor
Consult with a Physician if you suspect that you or someone else has an accident followed by a concussion. Tell the athletic coach and go to a doctor if a concussion occurs during sports practice or a game. Injuries to the spine can be accompanied with concussions. In case of a neck or back injury, avoid making them move by themselves and get a professional ambulance service to hospitalize them.
How a concussion is diagnosed
Your doctor will begin with questions about how the injury happened and its symptoms if a doctor or emergency room visit is necessary. Your doctor will perform a physical examination to determine what symptoms you have.
MRI scan or a CT scan of your brain will be suggested to check for serious injuries In the case of serious symptoms. For concussions, a special eye test is done generally to observe the symptoms. This test is sometimes used by certified athletic trainers. Any visual changes that are related to a concussion are conducted. Changes in pupil size, eye movements, and light sensitivities all will be inspected by the Doctor.
How a concussion is treated
The severity of your symptoms as observed decides the treatment methods. Surgery could be required in case if you have:
Bleeding in the brain
Swelling of the brain
A serious injury to the brain
However, most concussions don't require surgery or any major medical treatment.
Ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) might be prescribed as pain relievers if the concussion is causing headaches. Depending on the severity of your injury your doctor could ask you to get plenty of rest, for 24 hours or even a few months avoid sports and other strenuous activities and avoid driving a vehicle or riding a bike. Take Doctor's advice regarding alcohol use as alcohol might slow recovery.
A warning about the long-term effects of multiple concussions
Without a doctor's permission, anyone who has had a concussion shouldn't return to sports or strenuous activities. Before the first concussion is healed, second impact syndrome which is getting a second concussion time which can increase the chances of severe brain swelling and may be fatal. Taking rest after any concussion is very important. This allows your brain to heal. Return to such physical activities should be gradual, even once your doctor has granted permission.
How to prevent concussions
Wearing a correct helmet and other athletic safety gear during sports activities can reduce your risk of getting a concussion. Always wear helmet appropriately and make sure the helmet and other gear fit properly. The CDC provides an extensive overview of concussion information.