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The incident of head injury is a serious and growing problem all over the world. According to the Journal of NeuroRehabilitation, traumatic brain injuries will become one of the leading causes of disability and death by the year 2020, overtaking many diseases in number of incident. The problem is that any head injury is potentially serious, even if it appears to be minor. So what do you do if you witness an accident and suspect a head injury? Call 911 first, before you do anything else. It is vital that medical treatment be started as quickly as possible. If the injury is serious enough, the injured person is fighting a clock and it is ticking quickly.Always Assume a Neck InjuryOnce help is on the way, regardless of the situation, almost every head injury should be treated as if it is accompanied by a neck injury. This means stabilizing the neck and spine. If the person is conscious, lucid, and standing, have them sit down and hold still if possible. If they are unconscious, take whatever steps you can to make sure the person is not moved and their head is stable, however, it is important in this case to make sure they are breathing without difficulty. If you suspect that they may choke, support the head and turn them on their side to prevent them choking on blood or vomit.Never Apply Pressure to A Head WoundCheck for bleeding or open wounds. When presented with a head wound that is bleeding severely, apply a clean cloth without pressure. It is important that you do not press down to stop a bleeding head wound, as there may be a skull fracture. If a cloth soaks through with blood, do not remove it; place another clean cloth over the top of it.Take NoteIf the person is conscious, there are steps you can take while waiting for help to arrive. Make mental notes of everything to tell the emergency medical team when they arrive. This is important should they lose consciousness before help arrives.• Ask the injured person his name. Inquire as to that day's date and ask what happened to cause the injury. Listen to the answers and take note of slurred speech or answers that do not make sense. If the person is confused, tell the medical staff when they arrive.• Try to ascertain whether there was any loss of consciousness or a lapse in memory of what happened.• Check their eyes to see either if the pupils are dilated noticeably or are of unequal size. If they are, their condition may be more serious.Other indications that the injured person has more than a concussion are:• Discharge from nose, eyes, or ears. It will not necessarily be blood.• Facial features droop or are distorted• Complaint of severe headache or pain• Vomiting or stiffnessMonitor the SituationOften, people with a head injury that is serious but not evident will believe themselves to be okay. They will stand, walk, and seem to be fine. Watch them closely. If they seem lucid and then suddenly become confused, this is a sign of serious injury.
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