Head Injury - Vital Signs and First Aid

Posted by on April 09, 2020

Head injury may be caused by a number of mechanisms including, falls, assaults, motor vehicle crashes and sporting injuries.

Signs and symptoms:

• Pain (head, neck)

• Bleeding, bruising

• Confusion, loss of memory, irritability

• Dizziness, loss of coordination, blurred vision

• Nausea

Note: There may be no immediate symptoms

Call 111 if patient has lost or altered consciousness at any time, no matter how brief.

Treatment

• A patient who has sustained a head injury, whether or not there has been

loss of consciousness or altered consciousness, should be assessed by a

health care professional

• Ensure that the airway is clear

• Protect the neck whilst maintaining a clear airway

• Identify and control any significant bleeding with direct pressure if possible

All patients who appear to have suffered a head injury (including minor) should

be assessed by a health care professional before continuing with sport.

 

Concussion

• Concussion is a very common head injury. It occurs from a blow to the head or violent shaking.

• If somebody has a concussion, or thinks they have a concussion encourage them to TAKE IT SERIOUSLY and see a doctor. Problems could arise over 24 hours.

The patient must go to hospital if:

o Their headache gets worse

o They are very drowsy or can’t be woken up

o They can’t recognise people or places

o They pass out or have a blackout

o They vomit more than 3 times or more

o Behave unusually or seem confused

o They have seizures

o They have weak arms or legs, or are unsteady on their feet

o They have slurred speech

 

• Ministry of Health (http://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/conditions-and-treatments/accidents-and-injuries/head-injury)

 

• Brain injury support (http://www.brain-injury.org.nz/html/concussion.html)

NZQA
“I would like to thank Raki for our being an incredibly engaging and knowledgeable instructor yesterday. I have done many first aid courses over the years, and this is the first one that I've come away feeling like I would be an asset in an emergency.”
- Blockhouse Bay Intermediate School - FASE - March 2021, Auckland
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