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Head Injury, Age 4 and Older - Home Treatment

Minor head injuries continued...

Watch

  • The injured person should be watched by a responsible adult for the next 24 hours.
    • Call911or go to an emergency room immediately if unconsciousness or seizure activity develops.
    • Seek medical care if any new symptoms, such as vomiting, a severe headache, blurred or double vision, or unsteadiness, develop after the injury (postconcussive syndrome).

Rest

  • Rest is the best treatment for a concussion. Get plenty of sleep at night, and take rests during the day.
  • If a mild to moderate headache develops, lie down and try to relax your entire body.
  • Take only acetaminophen, such as Tylenol, to relieve a mild headache or pain from the injury. Do not use other nonprescription or prescription medicines for pain without approval from your doctor.
  • Do not drink alcohol or use illegal drugs. Alcohol and illegal drugs can slow your recovery and increase your risk of a second head injury.

If vomiting occurs:

  • Wait 1 hour after the last episode of vomiting before taking liquid.
    • After an hour, drink 4 fl oz (125 mL) of clear liquid every 20 minutes for 1 hour.
    • As you feel better, begin to eat small amounts of clear soups, mild foods, and liquids.
  • Keep eating clear soups, mild foods, and liquids until all symptoms are gone for 12 to 48 hours. Gelatin dessert, dry toast, crackers, and cooked cereal are good choices.

Recovery

  • Return to your normal activities gradually. Don't try to do too much at once.
  • Avoid activities that could lead to another head injury. If your head injury occurred during a sporting event, you should be evaluated for a concussion and cleared by a doctor before returning to play.
  • Ask your doctor when it will be safe for you to drive a car or operate equipment, if that is a concern.
  • Take only acetaminophen, such as Tylenol, to relieve a mild headache or pain from the injury. Do not use other nonprescription or prescription medicines for pain unless your doctor tells you to.
  • Do not use alcohol until your doctor tells you that you are well enough to do so. Alcohol and illegal drugs can slow your recovery and increase your risk of a second head injury.
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