Understanding head injuries: Symptoms, treatment and prevention

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A head injury is any trauma that can cause damage to the scalp, skull, or brain. It can range from a minor bump on the skull to a serious brain injury. Some head injuries cause brain damage or in some cases, death. Understanding the symptoms of a concussion or a head injury can help people respond to a head injury rapidly which will, in turn, reduce the chances of complications.

Mild traumatic brain injury

Observed by neurologists at AMRI Hospitals, signs and symptoms of mild traumatic brain injury may include:

Physical symptoms

  • Loss of consciousness for a few seconds to a few minutes
  • State of being confused or disoriented
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Problems with speech
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Dizziness or loss of balance

Sensory symptoms

  • Blurred vision
  • Tinnitus
  • Bad taste in mouth
  • Changes in ability to smell
  • Sensitivity to light or sound

Cognitive or mental symptoms

  • Memory or concentration problems
  • Mood changes or mood swings
  • Feeling depressed or anxious

Moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries

Physical symptoms

  • Loss of consciousness from several minutes to hours
  • Persistent headaches
  • Nausea
  • Seizers
  • Fluids draining from the nose or ears
  • Inability to awaken from sleep
  • Weakness or numbness in fingers and toes
  • Loss of coordination

Cognitive or mental symptoms

  • Profound confusion
  • Agitation, combativeness or other unusual behavior
  • Slurred speech
  • Coma and other disorders of consciousness

Head injury symptoms in children

Children and infants may not be able to communicate their symptoms which can leave them undiagnosed. This can lead to a traumatic brain injury. Neurologists at AMRI hospitals suggest that parents or guardians must understand the symptoms that can help them bring their children to immediate medical attention:

  • Change in eating or nursing habits
  • Unusual or easy irritability
  • Persistent crying and inability to be consoled
  • Change in ability to pay attention
  • Change in sleep habits
  • Seizures
  • Sad or depressed mood
  • Tiredness

Treatment and first aid

Neurologists at one of the best neurology hospitals in Kolkata, AMRI Hospitals, explain that mild head injuries can be treated at home by applying a cold compress to the affected area.

Severe head injuries require immediate medical attention. It is advised not to move a person with a severe head injury as it could worsen the condition. People should also refrain from removing the person’s helmet if they are wearing one.


Doctors at AMRI say that preventing head injuries is not always possible but some steps can help reduce the risk of a severe head injury. These include:

  • Wearing a seatbelt when in a vehicle
  • Wearing a helmet while cycling or using a motorcycle
  • Following safety precautions when playing contact sports

Neurologists at AMRI Hospitals warn that severe complications can occur if they are left undiagnosed, as a head injury can have lasting consequences. Therefore, it is essential to take precautions when necessary.

Last modified: April 6, 2020

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