Brain Injury Warning Signs and When to Go to the ER
March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. To celebrate this observance, we are raising awareness of the warning signs of traumatic brain injuries and knowing when to seek emergency help.
At Angleton ER, the finest emergency room in Angleton, Texas, we’re happy to provide you with the emergency care that you need during those crucial hours. We’re fast, have no long wait times, and are open 24/7 including holidays.
What is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?
Traumatic brain injuries, as their name suggests, can occur when a person suffers a blow or jolt to the head or body that is severe enough to disrupt brain activity or when an object pierces the skull.
Mild to moderate traumatic brain injuries can cause temporary problems in brain function, affecting aspects such as speech, vision, thought process, behavior, and movement. More severe brain injuries can result in permanent disability or death.
Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Penetrating or Open TBI: These results from objects such as bullets, shrapnel, metal rods, or a knife piercing the skull and damaging brain tissue.
Non-Penetrating or Blunt TBI: This type of brain injury happens when a person experiences an external force strong enough that causes the brain to move within the skull. Most incidents leading to a blunt TBI include falls, car crashes, sports injuries, blast injuries, or being struck by an object.
Brain Injury Facts
Traumatic brain injuries are more common than anyone would like. According to the most recent data from the CDC:
- About 176 Americans die from TBI-related injuries every day.
- Every year there are 223,135 TBI-related hospitalizations
- Seniors 75 and older have the highest TBI-related hospitalizations, accounting for 32%
- Males are nearly two times more likely to be hospitalized for a traumatic brain injury than females
- Males are three times more likely to die from a TBI than women
- More than 16,000 children under 17 years are hospitalized for TBI-related injuries yearly
- 2,774 children die of traumatic brain injuries every year
Warnings Signs of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries can result in wide-ranging physical and psychological effects. With primary injuries, symptoms will manifest immediately after the event. Secondary brain injuries result from reactive processes and occur gradually over hours, days, or weeks after the event.
Common symptoms of a traumatic brain injury include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Dizziness or loss of balance
- Fatigue or drowsiness
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Difficulty talking
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Unexplained changes in mood
- Feeling anxious or depressed
- Changes in sleep (sleeping more than usual or unable to sleep)
When to Go to the ER
Please seek immediate medical attention if you or someone you know experiences any of the following symptoms, especially within the 24 hours after a TBI.
- Loss of consciousness – even for just a few minutes
- Persistent or worsening headache
- Persistent nausea or repeated vomiting
- Convulsions or seizures
- Dilated pupils (one or both eyes)
- Clear fluids draining from ears or nose
- Unable to wake from sleep
- Loss of coordination
- Slurred speech
- Extreme agitation, aggressiveness, and other unusual behaviors
- Pierced skull
Warning signs in Small Children
Infants in young children can’t communicate their symptoms, so parents need to stay vigilant and observe closely for any possible sign of a TBI, including:
- Changes in nursing or eating habits
- Persistent crying for no apparent reason (unconsolable)
- Unusual irritability
- Changes in sleeping habits (sleeping too much, unable to sleep)
- Difficulty paying attention
- Depressed mood
- Lost interest in toys or activities
It’s always best to seek medical attention when your child receives a strong blow to the head or body, as they could have a TBI.
At Angleton ER, we have the most advanced technology available to diagnose and treat traumatic brain injuries quickly. So, if you’ve recently suffered a blow to the head or body and think you may have a TBI, don’t hesitate to come to our ER.
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