Medical

Head Injury Evaluation and Treatment – Part 2 of 2

Every adventurer, out-of-the-way traveler, and sailor needs to know about head injury assessment and treatment. Head injuries here refer to any trauma to the scalp, brain, or skull. See diagram for common causes of head injuries.

Evaluation of head injuries with no or only a brief period of loss of consciousness: (per the American Academy of Neurology)

Concussion is defined as a loss of consciousness or memory loss or  confusion lasting less than 6 hours.

Most always these are treated with rest and close monitoring for worsening symptoms as noted above.

  • Grade 1
  • Transient confusion
  • No loss of consciousness
  • Concussion symptoms or mental status abnormalities lasts less than 15 minutes
  • Grade 2
  • Transient confusion
  • No loss of consciousness
  • Concussion symptoms or mental status abnormalities last more than 15 minutes
  • Grade 3
  • Any loss of consciousness

 

Other concussion symptoms: Note-these symptoms should be stable and non-progressive. Get medical help immediately, if possible, should symptoms worsen or progress.

  • Vision changes
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Prolonged headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Ringing ears
  • Trouble with balance
  • Confusion
  • Memory loss

 

Post-concussion syndrome (a concussion is defined as a loss of consciousness or memory loss or confusion lasting less than 6 hours). The following symptoms (all or in part) may be present following a moderate or severe concussion. These symptoms are stable, not evolving or getting progressively worse. Not to be repetitive, but evolving symptoms are an emergency.

Post-concussion syndrome symptoms typically resolve within weeks to months. Note that they improve over time; not worsen.

  • Poor concentration
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness and feeling off-balance
  • Headache
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Amnesia
  • Possible loss of special senses (smell, vision, taste, and hearing with ringing in the ears (tinnitus)

 

 

Treatment:

Most always, concussions are treated with rest, minimizing activity for at least 1-2 days depending on symptoms, and close monitoring for worsening symptoms as noted above.

 

Note: See disclaimer

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