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Post Concussion Syndrome In Children
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Post-concussion syndrome (PCS) is a group of symptoms that affect your child's nerves, thinking, and behavior. PCS develops shortly after a concussion and can last for weeks to months.
Call 911 for any of the following:
- Your child has a seizure.
- Your child has trouble breathing.
- Your child is not responding, or you cannot wake him.
Return to the emergency department if:
- Your child has a sudden headache that seems different or much worse than his usual headaches.
- Your child cannot stop vomiting.
- Your child has a sudden change in his vision.
Contact your child's healthcare provider if:
- Your child has nausea or is vomiting.
- Your child has trouble concentrating, speaking, or thinking.
- Your child's symptoms get worse.
- You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.
Your child may need any of the following:
- Acetaminophen decreases pain. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to give your child and how often to give it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
- NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If your child takes blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for him. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child's healthcare provider.
- Antidepressants may be given for depression or sleep problems.
- Migraine medicines may be given for migraine headaches.
- 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.
- 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.
Follow up with your child's healthcare provider as directed:
Your child's healthcare provider may refer him to psychiatrist or neurologist. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your child's visits.
- Make your home safe for your child. Home safety measures can help prevent head injuries that could lead to a concussion. Put self-latching gates at the bottoms and tops of stairs. Screw the gate to the wall at the tops of stairs. Install handrails for every staircase. Put soft bumpers on furniture edges and corners. Secure furniture, such as dressers and book cases, so your child cannot pull it over.
- Make sure your child is in a proper car seat, booster seat, or seatbelt every time he travels. This helps decrease your child's risk for a head injury if he is in a car accident.
- Have your child wear protective sports equipment that fits properly. Helmets help decrease your child's risk for a serious brain injury. Ask your healthcare provider about other ways to decrease your child's concussion risk if he plays sports.
Manage your child's symptoms:
- Have your child rest from physical and mental activities as directed. Mental activities need your child to think, concentrate, and pay attention. Rest will help your child to recover from his concussion. Ask your child's healthcare provider when he can return to school and other daily activities.
- Take your child to therapy as directed. A cognitive behavioral therapist teaches your child skills to help with any thinking and behavior problems he may have. An occupational therapist teaches your child skills to help with daily activities.
- Talk to officials at your child's school about the concussion. This will help them understand how to help your child. Your child may have attention or memory problems that he did not have before the concussion. He may need extra time for tests and extra help to finish his homework.
- Do not allow your child to participate in sports and physical activities until his healthcare provider says it is okay. These activities could make your child's symptoms worse or lead to another concussion. Your child's healthcare provider will tell you when it is okay for him to return to sports or physical activities.
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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.