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There are a number of symptoms of a concussion that can affect a patient, though not everyone responds to this type of head injury the same way, and some symptoms do not present immediately. Symptoms may also be somewhat different in children than adults. Immediately after the concussion occurs, most people experience some confusion and loss of memory about the incident that caused it, and they may also have issues such as headache, dizziness or nausea. Symptoms that may not show up for hours or even days afterward include changes in sleep patterns, personality and memory and ability to concentrate. Children may become irritable, listless or stop eating and sleeping normally.
Symptoms of a concussion can range from mild to severe, and most people notice some issues immediately after being injured; they may last only a few hours or they can continue for days, weeks or sometimes even months. A person may lose consciousness from the blow to his or her head, and many will feel confused or have amnesia about the trauma. Headache, ringing in the ears and nausea and vomiting are all common as well. Some people may also feel dizzy, slur their speech and have problems with balance shortly after a concussion.
Not all patients have symptoms of a concussion right after the brain injury occurs; they may develop in the hours or days afterward and get progressively worse. Changes in one's ability to think clearly, focus attention and remember things are fairly common, as are problems with sleeping. Patients may notice changes in their personalities, feel depressed or irritable and lose interest in their normal activities. Headaches, blurred vision and sensitivity to light or noise can also become a problem, as can feelings of lightheadedness and difficulty with balance. Some people may also experience changes in their sex drive.
When a child gets a head injury, the symptoms of a concussion may be more difficult to recognize, as the child may not be able to clearly communicate them. Some signs to look for after a head injury include crankiness and lack of interest in the child's favorite activities or toys. He or she may tire easily, and parents may notice a change in sleeping or eating habits. Even if a child is not displaying any noticeable issues, parents should typically take him or her to the doctor after any type of head injury to get checked.