Head injuries can be external (affecting the scalp) or internal (involving the skull or brain). They can also be closed (meaning the skull remains intact) or open (indicating the skull is broken).
Examples of head injuries are:
- Skull fractures
- Brain hemorrhage
- Scalp wounds
If you have a head injury or trauma in the Sacramento region, it’s important to get it checked out as soon as possible by a medical professional. The experts at Dignity Health are here to provide advanced emergency services. Call 911 or use InQuicker™, our online waiting service, to select your estimated arrival time at a Dignity Health ER.
Head Injury Causes & Symptoms
Trauma is the cause of head injuries. Examples include motor vehicle accidents, assault, falls, and accidents at work or during sports or other activities.
Signs and symptoms of head injury depend on the specific injury. For scalp wounds, the main symptom is bleeding. The scalp can bleed a lot because it is very rich in blood vessels that are close to the skin. Swelling can also occur. You may have a knot (or bump) on the scalp.
Symptoms of internal head injuries may or may not be seen right away. The head may appear fine, so it’s hard to know how serious a head injury is without a medical evaluation. Symptoms of an internal head injury can include:
- Changes in mental function
- Personality changes
- Difficulty concentrating
- Partial or total loss of memory (amnesia)
- Problems sleeping
Seek emergency medical care at Dignity Health or call 911 for the following symptoms:
- Serious head wound
- Severe headache or stiff neck
- Weakness or inability to move an arm or leg
- Abnormal behavior
- Loss of consciousness, even if very brief
- Blood or clear fluid coming from the nose, ear, or mouth
- Difficulty breathing or speaking
- Sudden vision problems, such as difficulty seeing
- Double vision
- Unequal pupils
- Extreme sleepiness
Trusted Head Injury Treatment at Dignity Health
Your experienced emergency doctor will determine your treatment strategy based on the type and severity of head injury. Our ERS are equipped with the latest technologies, and you can be confident you will receive exceptional care from a knowledgeable team.
Minor injuries, such as surface scalp wounds, usually heal with home management. For severe head injuries, dial 911 and follow these tips:
Dignity Health offers emergency care for head injuries and trauma in Sacramento, CA and surrounding areas.
- Do not remove a helmet.
- Apply direct pressure to a wound unless you think there is a skull fracture. Do not attempt to clean or rinse the wound as this can make the bleeding worse. Instead, apply a sterile bandage.
- Monitor breathing and pulse. Begin CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) if necessary, and continue until medical help arrives.
- Do not move the person unless absolutely necessary. Do not pick up a child. Help the person remain still until medical help arrives.
- Do not remove any object stuck in the wound or head.