A head injury refers to an external or internal wound affecting the scalp, skull, or brain. Common types of head injuries include concussion, skull fracture, and brain hemorrhage.
For any type of head injury in Arizona, visit Dignity Health for expert diagnosis and treatment. In the event of a serious injury to the head, call 9-1-1 for immediate medical care.
Head Injury Symptoms
The symptoms of an external head injury are bleeding and swelling. Internal head injury symptoms are often not recognizable. For this reason, you should seek prompt medical care to confirm or rule out any complications.
The most common symptoms of an internal head injury include:
- Problems with concentration
- Difficult with memory
- Changes in mental function
- Sleeping problems
- Personality changes
You should call 9-1-1 for a head injury with these symptoms:
- Serious head wound
- Blood or clear fluid coming out of the nose, ear, or mouth
- Problems breathing, seeing, or speaking
- Extreme sleepiness
- Loss of consciousness, even for a brief period of time
- Abnormal behavior
- Sudden problems with vision such as decreased vision or double vision
- Weakness or inability to move a limb
- Severe headache
- Stiff neck
- Unequal pupils
If you need to go to the ER, use our InQuicker™ online tool by selecting your estimated hospital arrival time and wait at home until your time to be seen. Upon arrival and check-in, you will see a doctor who will assess your situation and determine the next appropriate level of care.
Head Injury Causes
The most common reason for a head injury is blunt force trauma to the head. This includes falls, sporting accidents, injuries sustained while working, assaults, and motor vehicle accidents.
What to Do for a Head Injury
Follow these steps in the event of a head injury:
- Call 9-1-1 for severe head injuries.
- Apply pressure directly to the head wound except in cases of a skull fracture.
- Do not attempt to clean or wash out the wound — instead, apply a sterile bandage.
- Keep the person still until help arrives (un)less it is absolutely necessary to move them.
- Do not pick up a child with a head injury.
- Do not remove any embedded object(s) in the wound or head.
- Do not remove a helmet.
- Monitor the person’s breathing and pulse.
- Start CPR (c)ardiopulmonary resuscitation if necessary and continue until help arrives.
Emergency Head Injury Treatment at Dignity Health
The type of treatment for a head injury will depend on its severity. Doctors at Dignity Health can perform surgery to remove objects from wounds or may use stitches to close up a wound.
Minor head injuries can often be treated at home by disinfecting the wound, applying bandages and cold compresses to help reduce swelling, and taking over-the-counter pain relief medicine.
The most effective way to prevent a head injury is to always wear a seatbelt while driving or riding in an automobile and wear a helmet during recreational or sporting activities. Emergency departments at Dignity Health provide advanced diagnosis and treatment for a wide range of head injuries in Arizona.