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Head Injury, No Wake-Up (Adult)

You have had a head injury. It does not appear serious at this time. Symptoms of a more serious problem (concussion, bruising, or bleeding in the brain) may appear later. Therefore, watch for the WARNING SIGNS listed below.

Home Care:

  • Your healthcare provider will tell you whether it’s okay to drive. If so, you can drive yourself home. For the next day or so, be careful when driving or using heavy machinery until you are sure you have no delayed symptoms.

  • During the next 24 hours someone must stay with you to check for the signs below. It is not necessary to stay awake or be awakened during the night.

  • If you have swelling of the face or scalp, apply an ice pack (ice cubes in a plastic bag, wrapped in a towel) for 20 minutes. Do this every 1-2 hours until the swelling starts to go down.

  • Do not use aspirin or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) after a head injury. You may use acetaminophen (Tylenol) to control pain, unless another pain medicine was prescribed. [NOTE: If you have chronic liver or kidney disease or ever had a stomach ulcer or GI bleeding, talk with your doctor before using these medicines.] 

  • For the next 24 hours:

    • Do not take alcohol, sedatives or medicines that make you sleepy.

    • Avoid strenuous activities. No lifting or straining.

  • If you have had any symptoms of a concussion today (nausea, vomiting, dizziness, confusion, headache, memory loss or if you were knocked out), do not return to sports or any activity that could result in another head injury until all symptoms are gone and you have been cleared by your doctor. A second head injury before fully recovering from the first one can lead to serious brain injury.

Follow Up

with your doctor if symptoms are not improving after 24 hours, or as directed.

[NOTE: A radiologist will review any X-rays or CT scans that were taken. We will notify you of any new

findings that may affect your care.]

Get Prompt Medical Attention

if any of the following WARNING SIGNS occur:

  • Repeated vomiting

  • Severe or worsening headache or dizziness

  • Unusual drowsiness, or unable to awaken as usual

  • Confusion or change in behavior or speech, memory loss, blurred vision

  • Convulsion (seizure)

  • Increasing scalp or face swelling

  • Redness, warmth or pus from the swollen area

  • Fluid drainage or bleeding from the nose or ears

 

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