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Head Injury (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care

  • Call 911 or activate your local emergency response service should any person sustain a significant head injury. This includes all persons with loss of consciousness who do not immediately waken and return to normal as well as those who show signs of weakness or numbness on one side of their body, complain of difficulty speaking, or have vision loss. These are the same symptoms as a person having a stroke.
  • Mechanism of injury is also an important consideration. Persons in a motor vehicle collision or who have fallen from a height should be kept still with their neck protected, in case there is an associated spinal cord injury.
  • Other symptoms that should prompt seeking medical care include confusion, loss of short-term memory, and repeated vomiting.
  • A less specific symptom but one that can also be used with children is to decide whether the person is acting like his or herself. This is a subtle and non specific way of evaluating an injured person, but if there is concern that they are not acting "normal", medical care should be accessed.
  • Persons with head injuries who are impaired because of alcohol or drugs should be brought for medical attention and evaluation.
  • Those who are taking prescription blood thinning medications such as warfarin (Coumadin), dabigatran etexilate (Pradaxa), enoxaparin (Lovenox), and heparin should seek medical care for all head injuries, even if it is very minor.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/4/2014

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