When we hear the term ‘Traumatic Brain Injury’ we tend to imagine serious injuries with permanent damage. TBIs, for short, can often be frightening but they are usually very treatable and more common than you might think. Many people get hit on the head in their lives by one accident or another, and sometimes a TBI comes along with something as simple as bonking your head on a table.
In honor of National Traumatic Brain Injury Month, Red River ER wants to help educate our community about TBIs, so we can all know what they are and how to treat them. These injuries might sound serious but with a few prevention techniques can go a long way to keeping your family safe and sound.
Traumatic Brain Injury refers to any head injury which has caused some jostling and damage to the brain. These can be impact injuries or when someone’s head is shaken too much, and if they go untreated, they can lead to more serious health conditions like concussions. TBIs are usually classified as either mild or severe, and just as you’d expect, the more severe the TBI, the higher the risk for long term issues.
Traumatic Brain Injuries are very treatable, though, no matter their severity. The key to recovering from a TBI is to know the signs and get medical help quickly. The sooner you can identify a possible TBI, the faster someone will recover. If someone you know has just had a head injury, watch for the following symptoms to see if they need to see a doctor:
- Headaches that persist or get worse
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Nausea or vomiting
- Slurred speech
- Blurry vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Confusion and memory problems or inability to concentrate
- Sleeping issues (sometimes being unable to wake up)
- Numbness or tingling in the limbs
- Dilation of the pupils
- Change in mood or behavior
- Loss of consciousness
- Seizures or convulsions
Some of these symptoms can appear more immediately than others, which is what can make TBIs so concerning for families. Your child might take a bad tumble during a football game and seem just fine, but if they begin to exhibit some of the above symptoms in the days, sometimes even weeks, after their impact, it could still be a TBI.
The simple answer to preventing TBIs is to just never get hit on the head. But we all know that isn’t very practical advice. Head injuries are often out of our control and happen to almost anyone. We’ve all knocked into something or fallen down while playing as a kid. The real question is HOW do you avoid hard head impacts?
Since TBIs are often the result of accidents, the best preventative measures come down to safety around the house and during physical activity. Here are some of the every day tips that you can instill in the whole family to keep your heads safe:
- Always wear seatbelts properly over the chest in the car
- Make sure small children and infants are secure in age-appropriate car safety seats
- Always wear helmets while biking, skating, scootering, and other vehicle-related sports
- Wear league appropriate headgear for sports (like helmets in football and padded headpieces for martial arts)
- Use hand rails while going up and down stairs
- Wear helmets when doing any home improvement or crafting that involves power tools and heavy objects
We never know what might cause a TBI, but with some foresight and appropriate precautions, we can all lower our risk of TBIs.
What to do in the Event of a TBI
You’ve been cautious and taught your children to always wear their helmets and use the hand rails, but still, a head injury has occurred. In this situation, what do you do? For anyone who has not experienced a TBI before, they might not know the appropriate steps to take to get the right kind of medical care.
First and foremost, if someone suffers a TBI, make sure you talk them through everything that is happening. At the moment of injury, they might be hurt or disoriented. That is a good time to start checking for any symptoms of TBI, as well as a good time to encourage the injured person to rest and evaluate how they feel. If you start to notice any immediate symptoms, then make sure that the injured person is reclined, out of the sun, and does not fall asleep, if possible. Seek immediate medical attention from a board-certified physician and explain to them where you will be going to see a doctor to make sure they are informed and calm.
If an injured person doesn’t display any symptoms at first, but begins to after the impact, then you need to react similarly. Stay with them, make sure they are resting and not going to work or school. Explain to them what you need to do and where you will be going for medical help.
When seeking medical help, not all doctor’s offices will be open. Limited hours and weekend availability can make getting immediate help from a physician difficult. In times like these, Red River ER is open 24/7 with concierge-level care for everyone in our community. If you or someone near you may have suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury, then see us and let our board-certified doctors and nurses help you get better fast.
Red River ER supports you and your family’s health. You can depend on Red River ER, or any one of our concierge-level, medical facilities to deliver the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
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