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Head injuries

2-minute read

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.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: August 2017

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