Traumatic brain injuries can occur in a wide variety of ways. The Mayo Clinic states that these incidents happen when a person sustains a violent blow or jolt to the body or head. It is crucial for individuals to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of a traumatic brain injury. Often, individuals who experience the trauma are unable to recognize whether or not they are experiencing symptoms. Thus, it is often left to individuals around them to know whether or not an emergency is currently ongoing.
Signs of Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries
Many people do not realize that concussions are actually mild traumatic brain injuries. These injuries happen through the same mechanism as more severe traumatic brain injuries. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of a mild traumatic brain injury include physical symptoms such as headache, nausea or vomiting, drowsiness, slurred speech, loss of balance, sensitivity to light and sound, and possibly blurred vision or a ringing in the ears.
Additionally, individuals who sustain mild traumatic brain injuries could lose consciousness for a few seconds after the initial impact and experience a temporary state of confusion or disorientation. There may be some temporary memory or concentration problems as well as sleeping more than normal soon after the injury occurs.
Individuals who sustain mild traumatic brain injuries still need to seek treatment from a doctor as soon as possible. Concussions, particularly ones that happen back-to-back, could lead to a more severe traumatic brain injury.
Signs of Moderate to Severe Traumatic Brain Injuries
Individuals who sustained moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries will likely know that something is wrong right away, but that is not always the case. There are times when individuals sustain severe traumatic brain injuries and then go about their day as normal and even go to sleep, only to learn later that the injury is much more severe. Sometimes, swelling or bleeding on the brain takes time to manifest symptoms, so any person who sustains a suspected brain injury needs to seek medical treatment even if they feel fine initially.
Individuals who sustain moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries will likely have all the same symptoms as those who sustained mild traumatic brain injuries, but they are often worsened. This can include:
- Loss of consciousness for a longer period of time
- Headaches that get worse over time
- Nausea and vomiting that do not stop
- Seizures or convulsions
- Dilated pupils
- Inability to wake up
- Loss of coordination
- Extreme confusion
- Agitation or unusual behavior
Children and Traumatic Brain Injuries
Younger children who sustain possible brain injuries will typically not be able to explain the symptoms they are experiencing. For toddlers and younger children, parents need to be on the lookout for certain types of behavioral changes that could indicate that something is wrong. This could include changes in nursing or eating habits, unusual irritability, crying that will not stop, changes in attention span, changes in sleeping patterns, mood changes, unusual drowsiness, or loss of interest in toys.
Parents who suspect that their child has sustained any type of blow port jolt to the head or body need to seek medical treatment as soon as possible so the child can be examined.