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Questions and answers abouthead injuries

Here are some questions people often ask. If you have a question that isn’t answered here, please feel free to email us at firstaid@redcross.org.uk or use this form.

Q

What can I apply to the injury to reduce swelling and pain?

Answer
Answer

You could wrap a towel or clothing around frozen vegetables or ice and apply it to the injury. You could also use a towel or clothing that’s been soaked in cold water and wrung out. Never place ice directly on the skin because it’s too cold.

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Q

What is concussion?

Answer
Answer

If a person suffers a blow to the head, the brain can be shaken inside the skull. This is called concussion. It tends to result in the person becoming unresponsive for a short period of time (a few seconds to a few minutes). Most people make a full recovery from  concussion, but occasionally it may become more serious. If you think someone has concussion, call 999.

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Q

What are the signs and symptoms of concussion?

Answer
Answer

Signs and symptoms of concussion include:

  • Temporary unresponsiveness
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • confusion
  • feeling sick
  • blurred vision
  • increasing drowsiness
  • having no memory of what happened
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Q

Should I watch a person who has a head injury to see if they have concussion?

Answer
Answer

Yes. With all head injuries you should watch for the signs of concussion. If you suspect they have concussion you should call 999. Sometimes you may not see the signs immediately.

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Q

How do I know whether to call an ambulance?

Answer
Answer

If they vomit, become unresponsive or show other signs of a serious head injury call 999. You should also call an ambulance if you are unsure how bad the injury is but think it could be serious.

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Q

Can I give them painkillers for their headache?

Answer
Answer

No. Painkillers are not advised because they can mask the signs and symptoms of a serious head injury.

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Q

What if the person becomes unresponsive as the result of a head injury?

Answer
Answer

Find out how to help someone who is unresponsive and breathing.

Find out how to help someone who is unresponsive and not breathing.

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Q

What should I do if the head injury is bleeding heavily?

Answer
Answer

If a head injury is bleeding heavily, apply pressure to the wound to stop or slow down the flow of blood and call 999. 

Find out how to help someone who is bleeding heavily.

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