Head Injuries – What you can do

As soon as I got the accident site I saw the car that went off the road and hit a tree. We have been an hour in the traffic. Some people where trying to pull out the unconscious driver out of the car. I helped them pull him out and then laid him on the ground. Before the ambulance took him to the nearest hospital. 


Head injuries are very common. Brain injury is the leading cause of death and disability worldwide. Traumatic brain injury is the leading cause of seizure disorders. Road accidents account for around 50% of the Brain Injury. According to the World Health Organization nearly half of those who die on the world’s roads are vulnerable road users: pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. 

Types of Head Injuries

– Concussion: This is the most common type of head injury.

– Contusion: A bruise or lesion on the brain itself.

– Skull fracture: This is breakage of the bone that covers the brain.

– Intracranial hematoma (ICH). This is bleeding under the skull in the brain that forms a clot.

What you can do


See this presentation to learn more about Cardiorespiratory Resuscitation. It is not the objective of this article.


Apply direct pressure on the cut or wound with a clean cloth, tissue, or piece of gauze until bleeding stops. If blood soaks through the material, don’t remove it. Put more cloth or gauze on top of it and continue to apply pressure.


Keep the head in line with the spine and prevent movement. Wait for medical help. Stop any bleeding by firmly pressing a clean cloth on the wound. If the injury is serious, be careful not to move the person’s head.


If you are with someone having a tonic-clonic seizure (where the body stiffens, followed by general muscle jerking), try to: Stay calm and remain with the person. If they have food or fluid in their mouth, roll them onto their side immediately. Keep them safe and protect them from injury.


Brain injury from trauma results from two distinct processes:

Primary brain injury: occurs at time of trauma (cortical contusions, lacerations, bone fragmentation, diffuse axonal injury, and brainstem contusion)

Secondary injury: develops subsequent to the initial injury. Includes injuries from intracranial hematomas, edema, hypoxemia, ischemia (primarily due to elevated intracranial pressure (ICP) and/or shock), vasospasm 

Since impact damage cannot be influenced by the treating neurosurgeon, intense interest has focused on reducing secondary injuries, which requires good general medical care and an understanding of intracranial pressure.

Mild Brain Injury

Below is what a patient can do after mild injury. Severe injuries are to be evaluated and treated in the hospital. Follow the following recommendations in the next 24-48 hours:

1. Relative rest at home, avoiding intense lights and noises.

 2. From this moment it is necessary for a family member to take responsibility for their care and observation, checking every 2-3 hours, for the next 24 hours, that the patient is correctly oriented (asking him his name, where he is, year in which he lives and if he remembers what happened).  They should also assess whether he speaks well and whether he can move his arms and legs normally.

 3. You can ingest liquids and solids in small amounts, without forcing you to eat if you do not have an appetite.  You will not be able to ingest alcohol or tranquilizers.

 4. If you take any previous treatment, consult your doctor.

 5. It is normal for a mild headache to appear, which may last up to 24-48 hours.  You can take the prescribed pain medication.

 6. Apply ice to the trauma area without direct contact with the skin..

You will go to the emergency department if any of the following symptoms appear:

 1. Severe and persistent headache, which does not go away with painkillers.

 2. Sudden or persistent vomiting, sometimes not preceded by nausea.

 3. Abnormal tendency to sleep or difficulty waking up.

 4. Inequality in the size of the pupils (usually the two are the same size).

 5. Loss of consciousness, confusion or disorientation.

 6. Difficulty speaking or expressing yourself.

 7. Progressive balance disorders (instability, dizziness …).

 8. Double or blurred vision.

 9. Loss of strength or mobility in any limb.

 10. Seizures.

 11. Appearance of blood or watery liquid from the nose.


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