A concussion often occurs after an accident in which the brain is shaken for a short period of time. The symptoms often include headache, double vision, nausea and sometimes memory loss. A distinction is made between a mild and a severe concussion. It is sometimes more difficult to recognize a concussion in babies and young children.
The development of a concussion
A concussion can occur in babies, children and adults. There is often a hard blow to the head, for example due to a fall or a bump against something. When the head makes a rotating movement, the risk of a concussion is greater. This is especially seen in the event of a fall, where the head turns. A concussion sometimes also occurs during abuse, when someone is hit hard on the head.
What is a concussion?
Someone with a concussion does not always have visible injuries. This depends on the accident, but a concussion does not show any visible external damage. If an injury to the skull is visible, it was partly caused by the accident and the skin is damaged. An injury does not necessarily mean a concussion. A concussion is caused by the brain being literally shaken. This can cause brain contusion or minor bleeding. In other cases there are only a number of symptoms that occur temporarily. A distinction is made between a mild and a severe concussion.
Light and heavy: the symptoms
With a mild concussion, there is mainly a headache and sometimes nausea. The patient cannot remember anything for a few seconds to a few minutes after the accident. Shortly after the accident, the patient may hear a strange sound that disappears after a few seconds. Dizziness may also occur, causing the patient to feel a bit unsteady on their feet, especially in the first few minutes after the accident. With a mild concussion there is no loss of consciousness.
In the event of a severe concussion, the patient may become unconscious and their memory from before the accident is often affected. The patient no longer knows what caused him to suffer a concussion. The patient may also have difficulty processing information that comes in. The patient will often keep asking the same questions. This phenomenon occurs quite quickly after the concussion. Furthermore, symptoms such as severe headaches, double vision or blurred vision, neck pain or neck pain, earache, nausea and vomiting and sometimes fainting occur. The patient may feel drowsy or sleepy. A number of cases suffer from a brain contusion, which can be recognized by behavioral changes, difficulty speaking, eating and walking. Sometimes coma occurs. A brain contusion is serious: damage is often impossible to repair.
In 1 percent of cases, a brain hemorrhage occurs after a severe concussion. A cerebral hemorrhage can be fatal. There is blood accumulation in and around the brain as a result of a damaged blood vessel. A cerebral hemorrhage occurs within 24 hours after the accident.
In the past, 6 weeks of bed rest was prescribed for a concussion, but nowadays this is outdated. Bed rest is advisable for the first few days if there is a headache and dizziness. Then the patient can slowly start walking and doing his own things. It is important that the patient himself indicates how much is possible. Heavy exertion, sports and drinking alcohol during recovery are really not recommended. It is also better to avoid smoking. Complaints can worsen if a concussion is not handled carefully. A patient with a concussion should be monitored closely for the first 24 hours and awakened every one to two hours. Attention must be paid to whether the patient responds normally to a question. Ask a question about what day it is or a simple calculation. If the patient is confused or does not respond at all, consult a doctor quickly. The risk of a brain haemorrhage remains present during the first 24 hours.
Recovery from a concussion can take several weeks to several months. Fatigue occurs quickly in the first few weeks, especially when returning to work or school. Noisy environments can cause headaches again.
Concussion in babies and children
It is sometimes more difficult to recognize a concussion in a young child, because they cannot indicate what is wrong themselves. A concussion in younger children often occurs after a fall or a hard bump against a table (while rising). But abuse also plays a role in children. A child with a concussion is drowsy and reacts slowly to his environment. The child may also vomit and not want to eat. The child may cry and clutch its head. If in doubt, always go to a doctor immediately. Sometimes a CT scan is made to rule out the possibility of a cerebral hemorrhage.
- Head bumped: headache and blood loss
- Blood from the ear
- Skull fracture: treatment and recovery
- Falling unconscious or fainting