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Head injuries

It is very common to get a bump to the head. They can range in seriousness from very minor to life-threatening.

The most common causes of head injuries are falls, assaults and car accidents.

The most common causes of serious head injuries are:

  • car accidents
  • sports injuries
  • accidents at home, such as slips, falls or trips
  • accidents at work, such as falls or being hit on the head
  • assaults.

Even in a mild head injury there is a small risk of you developing serious complications so you should be watched closely by another adult for 24 hours after the accident. If you show any of these symptoms or signs after your head injury, or you get worse, go to the nearest hospital, doctor or telephone an ambulance immediately.

  • Fainting or drowsiness - or you can’t wake up
  • Acting strange, saying things that do not make sense (change in behaviour)
  • A constant severe headache or a headache that gets worse
  • Vomiting or throwing up more than twice
  • Cannot remember new events, recognise people or places (increased confusion)
  • Pass out or have a blackout or a seizure (any jerking of the body or limbs)
  • Cannot move parts of your body or clumsiness
  • Blurred vision or slurred speech
  • Continual fluid or bleeding from the ear or nose

A serious head injury can cause anything from nausea to concussion to bleeding to death.

If you have a fit or seizure or fall unconscious, even if its only for a second, you should call triple zero (000) and ask for an ambulance.

If you are bleeding and it won’t stop, or if you have fluid coming from your nose or ears, you should go to your nearest emergency department immediately.

Last reviewed: August 2017

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Found 12 results

Head Injury

Read more on Queensland Health website

Children and head injuries

A head injury or head trauma happens when the brain is swollen, torn, stretched, shaken, compressed, bruised or pierced. Read our page to find what you should do if you think your child has had a head injury.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Helmets are shown to reduce motorcyclist head injury and death | Cochrane

Motorcyclists are at high risk in traffic crashes, particularly for head injury. A review of studies concluded that helmets reduce the risk of head injury by around 69% and death by around 42%. There is, so far, insufficient evidence to compare the effectiveness of different types of helmet. Some studies have suggested that helmets may protect against facial injury and that they have no effect on neck injury, but more research is required for a conclusive answer. The review supports the view that helmet use should be actively encouraged worldwide for rider safety.

Read more on Cochrane (Australasian Centre) website

Minor Head Injury in Children

Read more on Queensland Health website

Concussion and mild head injury | The Sydney Children's Hospitals Network

Read more on Sydney Children's Hospitals Network website

Head Injury Card | The Sydney Children's Hospitals Network

Read more on Sydney Children's Hospitals Network website

Concussion

The majority of head injuries are minor and scans are not required. However, it is important that you have someone at home with you for the next 24 hours in case you feel unwell.

Read more on WA Health website

Brain Foundation | Concussion

Concussion Concussion (See also Acquired Brain Injury) Description Concussion is used to describe a minor head injury that is not usually life-threatening

Read more on Brain Foundation website

Brain Foundation | Acquired Brain Injury

Acquired Brain Injury Acquired Brain Injury (Brain Injury, Head Injury, Traumatic Brain Injury, TBI) Description Brain injury includes a complex group of medical and surgical problems that are caused by trauma to the head

Read more on Brain Foundation website

Concussion | Kids Health

Read more on Sydney Children's Hospitals Network website

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