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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
A concussion is a mild brain injury. It is usually caused by a bump or blow to the head from a fall, a motor vehicle crash, or a sports injury. Sometimes being shaken forcefully may cause a concussion.
Have someone call 911 for any of the following:
- Someone tries to wake you and cannot do so.
- You have a seizure, increasing confusion, or a change in personality.
- Your speech becomes slurred, or you have new vision problems.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You have sudden and new vision problems.
- You have a severe headache that does not go away.
- You have arm or leg weakness, numbness, or new problems with coordination.
- You have blood or clear fluid coming out of the ears or nose.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You have nausea or are vomiting.
- You feel more sleepy than usual.
- Your symptoms get worse.
- Your symptoms last longer than 6 weeks after the injury.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
You may need any of the following:
- Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Read the labels of all other medicines you are using to see if they also contain acetaminophen, or ask your doctor or pharmacist. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly. Do not use more than 4 grams (4,000 milligrams) total of acetaminophen in one day.
- NSAIDs help decrease swelling and pain or fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Concussion symptoms usually go away within about 10 days, but they may last longer. The following may be recommended to manage your symptoms:
- Rest from physical and mental activities as directed. Mental activities are those that require thinking, concentration, and attention. You will need to rest until your symptoms are gone. Rest will allow you to recover from your concussion. Ask your healthcare provider when you can return to work and other daily activities.
- Have someone stay with you for the first 24 hours after your injury. Your healthcare provider should be contacted if your symptoms get worse, or you develop new symptoms.
- Do not participate in sports and physical activities until your healthcare provider says it is okay. They could make your symptoms worse or lead to another concussion. Your healthcare provider will tell you when it is okay for you to return to sports or physical activities. Ask for more information about sports concussions.
Prevent another concussion:
- Wear protective sports equipment that fits properly. Helmets help decrease your risk for a serious brain injury. Talk to your healthcare provider about ways you can decrease your risk for a concussion if you play sports.
- Wear your seatbelt every time you travel. This helps to decrease your risk for a head injury if you are in a car accident.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.