What is a Head Wound?

Dana Hinders
Dana Hinders

A head wound is any cut, abrasion or trauma that has been inflicted on the head. Wounds can be classified as either closed or open. A closed injury means a person was hit on the head, but it did not break the skull. An open or penetrating injury means that a person was hit with something that broke the skull and entered the brain. This sort of wound typically happens when someone is involved in a serious accident, such as an automobile crash.

Trauma that has been inflected on the head is referred to as a head wound.
Trauma that has been inflected on the head is referred to as a head wound.

There are several types of brain injuries that can result from head wounds. A concussion, which is the most common head injury, is caused when the brain is shaken. A contusion, which is a bruise on the brain, is also a possibility whenever someone sustains a head wound.

Doctors may take x-rays of the head and neck.
Doctors may take x-rays of the head and neck.

All cuts and abrasions on the head are likely to bleed significantly because the scalp has many blood vessels close to the surface of the skin. The amount of blood may be frightening at first. However, if someone is around to get a look at the wound and can see that it is not very deep, it can be cared for at home.

An open head injury damages the skull and enters the brain.
An open head injury damages the skull and enters the brain.

To stop the bleeding of a head wound at home, have the injured person lie down. Remove any visible pieces of debris in the wound. Next, press firmly on the wound with cloth or gauze and apply steady pressure for 15 minutes. If the wound is still bleeding, try applying pressure again for another 15 minutes. If the bleeding has not stopped at this point, contact a doctor.

After visible debris is removed from a wound, gauze can be applied along with pressure to slow bleeding.
After visible debris is removed from a wound, gauze can be applied along with pressure to slow bleeding.

Do not apply pressure to the head if the skull is deformed. A head wound that results in dents in the skull, pieces of skull protruding, or exposed brain tissue is too serious to treat at home. If there is an eye injury or if there is clear liquid draining from the ears or nose, this is also an indication that the wound is too serious to be treated with home first aid.

A concussion is caused when the brain is shaken.
A concussion is caused when the brain is shaken.

If the wound has penetrated the skull, the injured person should obviously get to the emergency room immediately. If an injury is deep enough to need stitches, the injured person will need to get to the doctor's office to have it taken care of. If it's too difficult to be sure whether or not a wound requires medical attention, it's best to err on the side of caution and go to the emergency room or an urgent care clinic.

Football players are at risk for head wounds, including contusions.
Football players are at risk for head wounds, including contusions.
Once a head wound stops bleeding, it can be safely bandaged.
Once a head wound stops bleeding, it can be safely bandaged.
Dana Hinders
Dana Hinders

Dana holds a B.A. in journalism and mass communication from the University of Iowa. She has loved being part of the wiseGEEK team ever since discovering the joys of freelance writing after her son was born. Dana also hones her writing skills by contributing articles to various blogs, as well as creating sales copy and content for e-courses.

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