Causes of head injuries
Head injuries may be caused by accidents, such as a fall or trip, a sports injury or as a result of fighting or an impact blow. The most common cause of head injuries are road traffic accidents.
Effects of head injuries
Serious head injuries
Depending on the severity of the injury, head injuries can be extremely damaging and potentially life threatening. Serious blows to the head can damage the brain, which may affect several of the body’s major systems and processes; if the brain is considerably damaged the body may cease to function independently and families may be forced to make the heartbreaking decision to turn off a life support machine.
Minor head injuries
Minor blows to the head may cause headaches, dizziness, nausea and concussion. Concussion can be a dangerous condition and the casualty will need to be monitored closely; this condition makes it hard for casualties to stay awake and it may cause them to drift in and out of consciousness; you should seek medical assistance if this is the case.
Treating a head injury
If the head injury is minor the casualty may not need to go to hospital. If the casualty has a cut you should try to stop the bleeding by applying pressure to the area; if the cut is deep it may require stitches or glue; the casualty will normally need to go to accident and emergency for this procedure. Headaches can usually be treated with pain relief; if the pain continues it may be necessary to get checked over by a doctor.
If the head injury is severe, the casualty will need urgent medical attention; you should call the emergency services as quickly as possible. It is important to keep the casualty as still as possible as movement might cause their condition to deteriorate. If there is persistent bleeding you should try to stem the flow by applying pressure to the affected area; this may be done by applying a tissue to the area for example. If the casualty loses consciousness you should be prepared to start CPR. You should stay with the casualty until emergency help arrives.