Sometimes, when you suffer from a heavy fall or an accident that shakes the brain inside your skull, you get a concussion. Although there may be cuts or bruises on the head or face, there may be no other visible signs of a brain injury.
Identify a concussion
If someone you know has a concussion, you can notice these changes in them:
Thinking and remembering
- Not thinking clearly
- Feeling slowed down
- Not being able to concentrate
- Not being able to remember new information
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fuzzy or blurry vision
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Balance problems
- Feeling tired or having no energy
Emotional and mood
- Easily upset or angered
- Nervous or anxious
- More emotional
- Sleeping more than usual
- Sleeping less than usual
- Having a hard time falling asleep
What you can do to help their recovery
The injured person will not be authorized by their doctor to go to school or work. In this time, give your loved one as much rest as possible. Rest is very important after a concussion because it helps the brain to heal. Ignoring their symptoms and expect them to function “as normal” often makes symptoms worse. Be patient because healing takes time.
Your loved one might not be able to do chores around the house for a while. You will be utmost important to keep the place in order. Cook a meal or two, or watch the kids, or bring them flowers or a movie to cheer them up. With the limited activities they are allowed to do, entertainment is really appreciated.
Tips for adults
- Get plenty of sleep at night, and rest during the day.
- Avoid activities that are physically demanding (e.g., heavy housecleaning, weightlifting/working-out) or require a lot of concentration (e.g., balancing your checkbook). They can make your symptoms worse and slow your recovery.
- Avoid activities, such as contact or recreational sports, that could lead to another concussion. (It is best to avoid roller coasters or other high speed rides that can make your symptoms worse or even cause a concussion.)
- When your health care professional says you are well enough, return to your normal activities gradually, not all at once.
- Because your ability to react may be slower after a concussion, ask your health care professional when you can safely drive a car, ride a bike, or operate heavy equipment.
- Talk with your health care professional about when you can return to work. Ask about how you can help your employer understand what has happened to you.
- Consider talking with your employer about returning to work gradually and about changing your work activities or schedule until you recover (e.g., work half-days).
- Take only those drugs that your health care professional has approved.
- Do not drink alcoholic beverages until your health care professional says you are well enough. Alcohol and other drugs may slow your recovery and put you at risk of further injury.
- Write down the things that may be harder than usual for you to remember.
- If you’re easily distracted, try to do one thing at a time. For example, don’t try to watch TV while fixing dinner.
- Consult with family members or close friends when making important decisions.
- Do not neglect your basic needs, such as eating well and getting enough rest.
- Avoid sustained computer use, including computer/video games early in the recovery process.
- Some people report that flying in airplanes makes their symptoms worse shortly after a concussion.
Tips for children
Parents and caregivers of children who have had a concussion can help them recover by taking an active role in their recovery:
- Having the child get plenty of rest. Keep a regular sleep schedule, including no late nights and no sleepovers.
- Making sure the child avoids high-risk/ high-speed activities such as riding a bicycle, playing sports, or climbing playground equipment, roller coasters or rides that could result in another bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body. Children should not return to these types of activities until their health care professional says they are well enough.
- Giving the child only those drugs that are approved by the pediatrician or family physician.
- Talking with their health care professional about when the child should return to school and other activities and how the parent or caregiver can help the child deal with the challenges that the child may face. For example, your child may need to spend fewer hours at school, rest often, or require more time to take tests.
- Sharing information about concussion with parents, siblings, teachers, counselors, babysitters, coaches, and others who interact with the child helps them understand what has happened and how to meet the child’s needs.
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