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Call 911 or seek emergency care right away if you are watching a person after a concussion and the person has:

  • A headache that gets worse or does not go away.
  • Weakness, numbness, or decreased coordination.
  • Repeated vomiting or nausea.
  • Slurred speech.
  • Extreme drowsiness or you cannot wake them.
  • One pupil that is larger than the other.
  • Convulsions or seizures.
  • A problem recognizing people or places.
  • Increasing confusion, restlessness, or agitation.
  • Loss of consciousness.

Warning signs in children are the same as those listed above for adults. Take your child to the emergency department if he or she has any of the warnings signs listed above or:

  • Will not stop crying.
  • Will not nurse or eat.

In the days or weeks after

Some people feel normal again in a few hours. Others have symptoms for weeks or months. It is very important to allow yourself time to get better and to slowly return to your regular activities. If your symptoms come back when you are doing an activity, stop and rest for a day. This is a sign that you are pushing yourself too hard. It is also important to call your doctor if you are not improving as expected or if you think that you are getting worse instead of better.

Rest is the best way to recover from a concussion. You need to rest your body and your brain. Here are some tips to help you get better:

  • Get plenty of sleep at night, and take it easy during the day.
  • Avoid alcohol and illegal drugs.
  • Do not take any other medicines unless your doctor says it is okay.
  • Avoid activities that are physically or mentally demanding (including housework, exercise, schoolwork, video games, text messaging, or using the computer). You may need to change your school or work schedule while you recover.
  • Ask your doctor when it's okay for you to drive a car, ride a bike, or operate machinery.
  • Use ice or a cold pack on any swelling for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your skin.
  • Use pain medicine as directed. Your doctor may give you a prescription for pain medicine or recommend you use a pain medicine that you can buy without a prescription, such as acetaminophen (for example, Tylenol).

Concussion and sports

A person who might have a concussion needs to immediately stop any kind of activity or sport. Being active again too soon increases the person's risk of having a more serious brain injury. Be sure to see a doctor before returning to play.

How can you prevent a concussion?

Reduce your chances of getting a concussion:

  • Wear a seat belt every time you drive or ride in a car or other motor vehicle.
  • Never drive when you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Wear a helmet and safety equipment when you:
    • Play sports, such as baseball, hockey, and football.
    • Drive or ride on a motorcycle, scooter, snowmobile, or ATV.
    • Do other activities where you could injure yourself, such as biking, skateboarding, skiing, or riding a horse.
  • Make your home safer to prevent falls.

Reduce your child's chances of getting a concussion:

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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