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Concussion In Children
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
A concussion is an injury to the tissue or blood vessels in your child's brain. 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 forcefully shaken may cause a concussion.
- Ibuprofen or acetaminophen: These medicines are given to decrease your child's pain. They can be bought without a doctor's order. Ask how much medicine is safe to give your child and how often to give it.
- Give your child's medicine as directed. Call your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him if your child is allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs your child takes. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list or the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
- Do not give aspirin to children under 18 years of age. Your child could develop Reye syndrome if he takes aspirin. Reye syndrome can cause life-threatening brain and liver damage. Check your child's medicine labels for aspirin, salicylates, or oil of wintergreen.
Follow up with your child's healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your child's visits.
Care for your child:
- Wake your child regularly during the night: Ask if you should wake your child at night after his concussion. Ask how often to do this. It is not dangerous for your child to sleep, but you may need to wake him to make sure he is thinking clearly. Ask questions such as his name or the names of toys.
- Use ice: Ice helps decrease swelling and pain. Ice may also help prevent tissue damage. Use an ice pack or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover the ice pack with a towel and place it on your child's head for 15 to 20 minutes every hour for up to 2 days after his injury.
- Make sure your child gets plenty of rest: Have your child rest in bed or play quietly. Do not allow him to play video games or do schoolwork. He should rest for 24 hours after his concussion or until his symptoms are gone. Your child may slowly return to normal activities when he no longer has symptoms.
- Ask about sports: Ask your child's primary healthcare provider when he can return to school or sports. He should not return to sports until he no longer has symptoms from his concussion.
Contact your child's primary healthcare provider if:
- Your child has nausea or vomiting.
- Your child's symptoms or condition gets worse during the first several days after his injury.
- Your child's symptoms last longer than 6 weeks after the injury.
- You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.
Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- Your child has a severe headache or vomits multiple times.
- Your child is harder to wake up than usual or you cannot wake him.
- Your child stops responding to others or he passes out.
- Your child has arm or leg weakness, loss of feeling, or new problems with coordination.
- Your child will not stop crying or will not eat.
- Your child has a seizure, increasing confusion, or a change in personality.
- Your child's speech becomes slurred, or he has new vision problems.
- Your child has blood or clear fluid coming out of his ears or nose.
- Your child is an infant and has a bulging soft spot on his head.
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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.