"OK," you're thinking. "Like I'm going to perform brain surgery."

Of course not. This is more of an informative node of what to look for..

When the human head has an impact, the brain bounces off of the sides of the skull. If it is injured, it reacts just like any other body part... it bruises and swells from bleeding. The brain is in a rather unique spot, since it is inside a confined area. There isn't much room for a brain to swell, and further damage can be done. If there are vessels bleeding outside the brain itself, it can fill up the space around the brain, causing pressure and possible damage.

If someone has a head injury, you must watch out for signs of a concussion. Some common signs are:

  • Confused facial expression.
  • Answers questions slowly or has difficulty following simple instructions.
  • Easily distracted and cannot follow through with normal activities.
  • Walking in the wrong direction to get somewhere they are familiar with.
  • Cannot recall the date, time or place.
  • Babbles disjointed or incomprehensible sentences.
  • Stumbling when walking, cannot walk a straight line.
  • Distraught, crying for no apparent reason, emotionally confused.
  • Continuously asking the same question, even though it has been answered.
  • Unable to recall three words or objects in sequence after five minutes.
  • Pupils dilated differently (one bigger than the other).
  • Coma.

What to do if you suspect someone has a brain injury:

  • Never stop the flow of blood or cerebro-spinal fluid from the ears or nose. Blocking the flow may increase pressure in the skull.
  • Never elevate the legs, such as when you treat for shock. This also increases the pressure inside the skull.
  • Never clean an open skull wound, it is too easy to accidently start an infection in the brain.
  • Seek immediate medical attention for all suspected brain injuries.
  • Support as if you suspect a spinal injury in an unresponsive victim until you can prove to there is none. Always assume a head injury may have injured the spinal column.
  • Monitor their breathing and pulse.
  • Control bleeding by placing absorbant sterile dressings around the wound. Do not apply any pressure directly on a skull fracture.
  • People who have brain injuries act nausious and normally vomit. Roll the victim to their side while supporting the spine to help drain the vomit and to keep their airway open.
  • When medical help arrives, report what you observed and did.

Take a first aid course to become proficient with assisting injured people.

Note: There are additional things to look for under HOWTO: Treat Skull Fractures and Head Injury Follow-Up. Thanks to sleeping wolf for the additional information.

First Aid

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