Head Trauma Signs to Watch

Every year, thousands of people are affected by some sort of head trauma. Head trauma is classified as an injury to the head, neck, scalp or brain. This trauma is a serious injury that can lead to major health issues, including death. If someone you know has recently been affected by this type of injury, there are several symptoms you should watch out for to determine the severity of the injury.

Woman with an extreme headache.
Credit: NatalieShuttleworth/Moment/Getty Images


The most immediate sign of a head injury is the headache. Whenever the head gets hit, a headache is to be expected; however, the severity of the headache is the major factor here. A headache from a mild head injury should go away in a few minutes to hours and should have only mild pain. If the headache does not seem to be abating or it is extremely severe, it might be a sign of a bigger problem, such as a swollen brain or fractured skull. If this type of headache persists after the head trauma has occurred, immediately get the patient to a doctor.

Loss of Consciousness or Confusion

The symptoms that are related to head trauma may develop over a matter of hours or days. Just because the patient doesn't immediately show signs of trauma does not necessarily mean that they are fine. As the head trauma progresses, you may see the patient begin to lose consciousness or become drowsy. Even if the patient was alert immediately following the injury, these symptoms can occur hours after the trauma. If the patient has experienced head trauma and then hours later begins to lose consciousness, you must get them to a doctor. General confusion is also a symptom that is related, as you may not notice the confusion immediately. Pay close attention to the injured person's conversation and movements, as this will help determine if they are becoming confused.

Other Symptoms

Even if the person seems clear and does not have a headache, there are other signs that may indicate a trauma that will begin to manifest themselves as time goes on. Watch out for a change in the size of the pupils or distorted facial features as a sign of brain damage. Other symptoms include impaired hearing or vision, loss of taste, restricted movement in the arms or legs, personality changes, drop in blood pressure, clumsiness, slurred speech, restricted neck movement and vomiting. If the injured person begins to show any of these symptoms following a head injury, go to the emergency room. It is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to head trauma. Finally, keep an eye out for a resurgence of any of these symptoms. Often with head injuries, the patient will show these signs and then begin to get better. If this happens, the symptoms may come back worse than they were before.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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