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    Concussion - Topic Overview

    What are the symptoms? continued...

    Symptoms of a concussion fit into four main categories:

    • Thinking and remembering
      • Not thinking clearly
      • Feeling slowed down
      • Not being able to concentrate
      • Not being able to remember new information
    • Physical
      • Nausea and vomiting
      • Headache
      • Fuzzy or blurry vision
      • Dizziness
      • Sensitivity to light or noise
      • Balance problems
      • Feeling tired or having no energy
    • Emotional and mood
      • Easily upset or angered
      • Sad
      • Nervous or anxious
      • More emotional
    • Sleep
      • Sleeping more than usual
      • Sleeping less than usual
      • Having a hard time falling asleep

    Young children can have the same symptoms of a concussion as older children and adults. But sometimes it can be hard to tell if a small child has a concussion. Young children may also have symptoms like:

    • Crying more than usual.
    • Headache that does not go away.
    • Changes in the way they play or act.
    • Changes in the way they nurse, eat, or sleep.
    • Being upset easily or having more temper tantrums.
    • A sad mood.
    • Lack of interest in their usual activities or favorite toys.
    • Loss of new skills, such as toilet training.
    • Loss of balance and trouble walking.
    • Not being able to pay attention.

    Concussions in older adults can also be dangerous. This is because concussions in older adults are often missed. If you are caring for an older adult who has had a fall, check him or her for symptoms of a concussion. Signs of a serious problem include a headache that gets worse or increasing confusion or both. See a doctor right away if you notice these signs. If you are caring for an older adult who takes blood thinners—warfarin (Coumadin) is an example—and who has had a fall, take him or her to a doctor right away, even if you don't see any symptoms of a concussion.

    Sometimes after a concussion you may feel as if you are not functioning as well as you did before the injury. This is called postconcussive syndrome. New symptoms may develop, or you may continue to be bothered by symptoms from the injury, such as:

    • Changes in your ability to think, concentrate, or remember.
    • Headaches or blurry vision.
    • Changes in your sleep patterns, such as not being able to sleep or sleeping all the time.
    • Changes in your personality such as becoming angry or anxious for no clear reason.
    • Lack of interest in your usual activities.
    • Changes in your sex drive.
    • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or unsteadiness that makes standing or walking difficult.

    If you have symptoms of postconcussive syndrome, call your doctor.

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