All significant head injuries, such as when loss of consciousness
occurs, should be assessed in an Accident & Emergency department.
When you get home from hospital it is unlikely that you will have any further problems. But, if any of the following symptoms do return, we suggest you get someone to take you to your nearest hospital A&E department as soon as
· unconsciousness, or lack of full consciousness (for example, problems keeping eyes open)
· any confusion (not knowing where you are, getting things muddled up)
· any drowsiness (feeling sleepy) that goes on for longer than 1 hour when you would normally be wide awake
· any problems understanding or speaking
· any loss of balance or problems walking
· any weakness in one or more arms or legs
· any problems with your eyesight
· very painful headache that won't go away
· any vomiting
· any fits (collapsing or passing out suddenly)
· clear fluid coming out of your ear or nose
· bleeding from one or both ears
· new deafness in one or both ears
Things you shouldn't worry about
You may feel some other symptoms over the next few days which should disappear in the next 2 weeks. These include a mild headache, feeling sick (without vomiting), dizziness, irritability or bad temper, problems concentrating or problems with your memory, tiredness, lack of appetite or problems sleeping. If you feel very concerned about any of these symptoms in the first few days after your head injury, you should go and see your own doctor to talk about them.
If these problems do not go away after 2 weeks, you should go and see your doctor. We would also recommend that you seek a doctor's opinion about your ability to drive a car or motorbike.
Things that will help you get better
If you follow this advice you should get better more quickly and it may help any symptoms you have to go away:
· DO NOT stay at home alone for the first 48 hours after leaving
· DO make sure you stay within easy reach of a telephone and medical
· DO have plenty of rest and avoid stressful situations
· DO NOT take any alcohol or drugs
· DO NOT take sleeping pills, sedatives or tranquilisers unless they are given by a doctor
· DO NOT play any contact sport (for example, rugby, football or polo) for at least 3 weeks without talking to your doctor first
· DO NOT return to your normal school, college or work activity until you feel you have completely recovered
· DO NOT drive a car, motorbike or bicycle or operate machinery unless you feel you have completely recovered
Most patients recover quickly from their accident and experience no long-term problems. However, some patients only develop problems after a few weeks or months. If you start to feel that things are not quite right (for example, memory problems, not feeling yourself), then please contact your doctor as soon as possible so that you can be checked to make sure you are recovering properly.
This advice is based on the Guideline on Head Injury published by the National Institute for
Health and Clinical Excellence in June 2003. This advice is of a
general nature and should not be relied in place of a competent medical