A concussion is a traumatic brain injury — or TBI — caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head. Or even by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move forcefully and stop abruptly. This sudden movement can cause the brain to be damaged, creating chemical changes in the brain and possibly stretching and damaging the brain cells.
How can you tell if someone has gotten a concussion? Brain injuries are difficult to recognize and might not show up in a neurological test. In most cases, the diagnosis of a concussion is based on the incident that took place and in identifying specific symptoms. Someone who has a concussion may be unable to remember what happened to them immediately before or after their injury. Paramedics typically will ask the person if they know where they are, what day it is and their name if they are concerned that a concussion has taken place. There are several symptoms you should be on the lookout for if you think your child may need concussion treatment. They are:
- Prolonged headache or pressure in the head
- Vision problems
- Nausea or vomiting
- Loss of balance
- Memory loss
- Ears ringing
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Loss of smell or taste
- Feeling sluggish, groggy or dazed
- Can’t pay attention
- Trouble sleeping
- Slow to respond/understand others
- Mood changes
- Changes in behavior
- Changes in personality
If you notice these symptoms in your child after there has been a blow to the head, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Concussions In Athletes
If your child sustains a concussion while playing a sport, they should be held out of participating until they have been checked and cleared by a doctor (for the most part, this applies to teenagers). It is recommended that they wait until all of the symptoms have cleared up and they are no longer needing any medication…including painkillers before returning to action. Be sure that their coach knows about the situation. Coming back to play too soon puts the child at greater risk to sustain another head injury. This can lead to a serious or life threatening injury.
Any athlete has some risk of a concussion. It can be a scary situation for a parent to go through. One way to give yourself some added peace of mind in case that does happen, is to get baseline testing done before they begin competition. Then, if an unfortunate injury occurs, we’ll be in a better position to help your child recover as quickly as possible.
Concussion Treatment And Recovery
Once there has been a diagnosis of a concussion, the recovery process can begin. It should be a group effort. In addition to the doctor, parent, and child — coaches, teachers, employers, and others in the child’s life should be aware of the situation and their role in the recovery process. It is vital that everyone is on the same page so your child has no confusion or unnecessary stress during the recovery.
Our team will provide your child with post-injury care until your child can return to participating. We’ll do this with a customized care plan to help them regain their strength and endurance. Usually, a concussion is mild and a full recovery will be made. However, there are still important precautions to take. Sustaining multiple concussions is dangerous. We’ll work with you to identify the precautions that need to be taken as your child recovers.
Their treatment at home should include:
- Physical rest: They should take it easy for a few days at least. Have your child ease back into participating in their activities. Be sure that you monitor their symptoms.
- Mental rest: Have your child avoid participating in activities that will strain their mind. This may include anything from using a computer or phone to watching TV or playing video games.
- Hydration: Have them stay hydrated by drinking plenty of non-caffeinated liquids.
- Sleep: Sleep is important for recovery. Make sure the room is dark and quiet and all the electronics are turned off.
Concussion Treatment — Mental Rest
Because a concussion affects how the brain works, resting the brain as much as possible will help their recovery go smoothly. The following should help you ensure that your child is getting the mental rest they need. Consider restricting or limiting these activities because they can increase brain function, worsen their symptoms, and delay healing.
- Computer work/Internet use
- Video games
- Text messaging/cell phone use
- Bright lights, such as strobe lights at school dances
- Listening to loud music or music through headphones
- Loud noises
- Parties, concerts, pep rallies, etc.
How can you make sure your child is not using their brain too much? The key to concussion treatment and recovery is to reduce mental activities until the symptoms begin to improve. Then you can gradually increase what they are doing as they continue to improve. Some days will be worse than others. Especially the first couple of days. When necessary, you should suspend any school, work, or anything else that might put unnecessary strain on their brain.
What they can do will gradually improve and should be monitored all the way through the process. It is recommended to frequently ask the child if they have symptoms. Ask if their symptoms have changed or gotten worse since they started an activity.
If your child says that something is making their symptoms worse, make sure they stop what they are doing and get some rest. After about 30 minutes they can resume the activity if they are feeling better. If not, they should wait until the next day to attempt that activity again. Keep in mind that it is normal for a child with a concussion to have good days with mild symptoms and bad days when the symptoms are worse. The important thing is to figure out where the line between the two is so you can help minimize their symptoms as much as possible.
Just 4 Kids Urgent Care
We hope this will help you know what to look for, and what to do, if your child gets a concussion. Nothing is more important than the long-term health of your child so please give us a call, text or come and see us if you have any concussion related questions about your child. We are here to bring parents peace of mind and take great care of your child.