Head injuries can be very serious – particularly if left untreated. Even a seemingly light impact could quickly lead to a concussion or even a brain bleed. As a result, it’s very important that a first aider can get in, assess the situation quickly, treat and if necessary contact paramedic professionals.
In this article, we’ll be going over some things to look out for when assessing head injuries, as well as providing some general tips designed to maximize quality of care and patient outcomes. Not only is this information a key component of any emergency first aid at work training, but knowing it could help to save someone’s life one day.
With every head injury that doesn’t immediately warrant a trip to the emergency room, your standard operating procedure should always be to get the person who has undergone a head injury to rest and put something cold on the wounded area – ideally this will be ice but it can also be anything frozen. Putting this ice on the location of the injury will ensure that the injury doesn’t swell up – which can cause further damage later on.
You can remember this by using the simple mnemonic: In the event of a head injury, your SOP should be to RAC.
Tip 1: Check For Concussion
Concussions are incidents when the brain has been rattled — where intense shaking has caused the brain to come into contact with the side of the skull. In the event of a concussion, the affected person could be unresponsive for a moment or two in the immediate aftermath of the event.
Signs and symptoms of a concussion include:
- Experiencing a loss of memory
- Experiencing blurred vision
- Need to Vomit
In the event that the person who has experienced a head trauma demonstrates any of these, you should call 999 immediately.
SOP: When Should You Call the Emergency Services?
The emergency services should be called immediately if the person affected demonstrates any of the following:
- The affected person is over 65 years old
- The affected person shows signs of unresponsiveness
- The affected person has had a previous brain injury
- The affected person has blood or spinal (clear) fluid coming from either their ears or their nose
- The affected person is taking any blood thinning medication
- The affected person has been drinking alcohol or doing any narcotics
- The affected person experiences numbness or tingling
- The affected person experiences a seizure
Tip 2: Check For Brain Bleeds
Brain Bleeds, generally speaking, are any injury where blood has found itself within your skull cavity. However, depending on the location of the bleed, they can vary considerably in danger. As a qualified first aider, it’s not your job to treat brain bleeds, but you should know what to look out for (just in case).
Common signs of brain bleed include:
- Headache – often severe and sudden
- Slurred speech
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of vision
- Difficulty reading or writing
- Stiff joints
- Loss of coordination
- Sensitivity to light
- Difficulty swallowing
- Sudden tingling, weakness, numbness or paralysis of the face, arm or leg – particularly on a single side of the body
- Change in level of consciousness or alertness
SOP: Keep the Affected Person Under Observation
Regardless of whether the patient shows signs of a concussion or not, it is important that you keep them monitored until their care is taken up by doctors or emergency services. Signs of a serious head injury may not be apparent immediately and they may appear suddenly. As a result, it’s important that you keep the affected person under observation as closely as possible.
First Aid Courses in Stoke-On-Trent From APT
For over five years, APT has been providing clients with high-quality, professional training in such areas as asbestos awareness, working at heights, and workplace fire safety – through our fire marshal training scheme.
Whether you’re looking for an introduction so that you can appoint a workplace first aider or a refresher course, we have everything on site to teach your staff the necessary first aid skills.
To learn more about our training courses get in touch with us today!