#1 Head Injury Management First Aid

Head Injury

Table of Contents

Head Injury

A head injury may occur from any incidents, including falls, assaults, motor vehicle crashes, sports injuries, and penetrating wounds. A person may sustain a significant head injury that results in a loss of consciousness or possible memory loss (temporary or permanent), resulting in amnesia.

A minor head injury, such as a mild concussion without loss of consciousness, is also called a head injury. Therefore, loss of consciousness or memory loss should not define the severity of a head injury or guide the management and treatment plan.

Recognition Of A Head Injury

The initial First Aid for a person with a head injury includes assessing and managing the airway and breathing for suspected spinal injury by caring for the neck until expert help arrives.

A brain injury should be suspected if the person has a reported or witnessed injury, has signs of damage to the head or face, such as bruises or bleeding, or is found in a confused or unconscious state.

A person may have acquired a temporary or permanent brain injury without showing any external signs of injury to the head or face when violent brain shaking has occurred (shaken baby syndrome). Significant problems may not be evident for several hours after the initial head injury has occurred or been inflicted.

First Aid Management Of A Head Injury

Call an ambulance if there has been a loss of consciousness or altered consciousness at any time, no matter how brief. A person who has sustained a head injury, regardless of any loss of consciousness or altered consciousness, should be assessed by a health care professional as soon as possible after receiving trauma to the head or face region.

• Check for any signs of a response: an unconscious person should be managed with DRSABCD.

• Ensure that the airway is clear.

• Protect the neck and spine while maintaining a clear airway.

• Identify and control any significant bleeding with direct pressure, if possible, where no protruding object is embedded in the skull. If protruding objects prevent direct pressure, apply pressure around the objects as best as can be evenly dispersed to control the bleeding, ideally using a ring bandage made from the triangle bandage in every First Aid kit.

Video 10 uses for a triangle bandage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m91XJT2Ym9s

All persons who appear to have suffered a head injury (including a minor head injury) should be assessed by a health care professional before continuing with, or returning to, playing any sport or other activity. If the person is unresponsive and not breathing normally, commence resuscitation following the ANZCOR Basic Life Support Flowchart.

If you encounter an unconscious person with an apparent head wound, apply DRSABCD. Once you have established the correct response to airway control and CPR, if required, treat the patient for suspected spinal cord injuries to the neck area. It is better to assume a spinal injury has occurred and treat accordingly than to presume no neck or spinal damage has occurred due to the incident that led to the situation unfolding.

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