How Do I Give First Aid for Head Injuries?

Dan Cavallari

Head injuries can occur in just about any setting, and they can be dangerous for the patient if not treated properly. Before giving first aid for head injuries, it is important to assess the situation carefully and quickly. If the person with the head injury loses consciousness; is bleeding from the mouth, nose, or ears; or is slurring his or her words, it is best to call emergency services immediately. This is also true if the patient is dizzy or confused, or if he or she has stopped breathing. First aid for head injuries should be administered carefully and quickly to ensure the safety of the patient.

An ice pack, which can help reduce swelling from a head injury.
An ice pack, which can help reduce swelling from a head injury.

Make sure the injured person is seated or lying down somewhere safe and away from potential injury from passers by or objects. This should be done by protecting the person and moving objects, not by moving the person, as spinal injuries may have occurred and movement can worsen the injuries. An assessment of any other injuries or conditions is part of first aid for head injuries, and you will need to take note as to whether the injured person has stopped breathing. If this is the case, CPR will need to be performed.

A medical doctor should be consulted if persistent dizziness, blurred vision, and slurred speech occurs after a head injury.
A medical doctor should be consulted if persistent dizziness, blurred vision, and slurred speech occurs after a head injury.

If CPR is not necessary, it will be important to continue first aid for head injuries by addressing any bleeding. Avoid touching the blood with your bare hands; wear gloves if possible, or have the patient hold gauze or cloth to the wound himself or herself. Apply direct pressure to the wounds to stop the bleeding; if it persists, call emergency services. The injured patient may need to see a doctor anyway, as stitches may be required to close the wound. If swelling has occurred, you can administer first aid for head injuries by applying an ice pack to the affected area for several minutes.

Once a head wound stopped bleeding, it can be safely bandaged.
Once a head wound stopped bleeding, it can be safely bandaged.

Depending on the severity of the injury, it may be necessary to stay with the person for up to 24 hours to assess their awareness and healing. If his or her condition worsens over time, it will be necessary to see a doctor immediately. Persistent dizziness, blurred vision, slurred speech, loss of motor skills, or unusual behavior may be indications of a more serious issue that must be addressed by a professional.

Someone who has a head injury should avoid standing up too quickly, which might cause dizziness.
Someone who has a head injury should avoid standing up too quickly, which might cause dizziness.

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