Head Injury Treatment
Call 911 if the person has any of the following symptoms:
- Blood or clear fluids coming from the ears or nose
- Slurred speech
- Unconsciousness, confusion, dizziness, or drowsiness
- Unequal pupil size or blurred or double vision
Unless the airway is blocked, do not move the person until a medical team arrives and checks for a spinal cord injury.
1. Do Hands-Only CPR, if Necessary
If the person is unconscious or not breathing, do ONLY chest compressions.
2. For Mild or Moderate Head Injuries
- To control bleeding, apply clean dressings directly to scalp or facial cuts.
- To control swelling, apply ice for 20 to 30 minutes every 2 to 4 hours.
- For headache, give over-the-counter acetaminophen. Do not use aspirin, ibuprofen, or other anti-inflammatory drugs, which can increase the risk of bleeding.
3. When to See a Doctor
See a doctor immediately if the person experiences:
- Increased drowsiness
- Irritability or restlessness
- Loss of strength in the hands or feet
- Persistent vomiting
- Worsening headache
4. Follow Up
- Do not leave the person alone for 24 hours.
- Check the person every 2 hours for alertness.
- Look for new symptoms, such as confusion, vomiting, unequal pupils, or unusual behavior.
- If symptoms persist or get worse, see a doctor. The doctor will do an exam and may do blood tests, an X-ray, a CT or CAT scan, or an EEG.