Last Updated on Sep 20, 2012


  • Head trauma is an injury that affects the brain / skull
  • Injuries range from minor to serious
  • Head injury may be 'closed' or 'penetrating'
  • 'Closed'-when head hits against a blunt object
  • These injuries lead to concussion
  • 'Penetrating' - an object penetrates skull and enters brain


  • Road traffic accidents
  • Accidents at home / work
  • Assault
  • Fall
  • Sports

  • Loss of consciousness - for short or long duration
  • Bleeding
  • Vomiting
  • Fluid discharge from nose
  • Loss of hearing, vision, taste, smell
  • Speech-related problems
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Seizures
  • Paralysis
  • Coma
  • Change in personality
  • Mental health-related problems


For mild injury-
  • Apply ice to injured area to minimize swelling
  • The size of the bump is not related to the severity of injury
  • Observe the patient carefully for signs of bleeding
For moderate to severe injury-
  • Check the patient's breathing pattern
  • If necessary do Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
  • In case of bleeding, press area with a clean cloth
  • If the cloth soaks, place a fresh cloth over the first one
  • Do not remove debris from the wound
  • If person is vomiting turn on the side and lower the head
  • To minimize spine injury - hold head, neck and body in one line 
  • Immobilize the patient
  • If unconscious, treat it like a spinal injury
  • Keep the head in alignment with spine
  • Get immediate medical help
Consult a Doctor
  • When the following occur seek medical help-
  • Bleeding
  • Fluid discharge from nose, mouth, ears
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Confusion / Restlessness / Irritability
  • Slurred speech / Convulsion
  • Blurred Vision
  • Low breathing
  • Low blood pressure / Severe headache
  • Fracture / Stiff neck
  • Loss of sensory abilities
  • Inability to move one or more limbs

Steps to Avoid 
  • Avoid shaking or moving a person who has head injuries
  • Avoid washing the wound or removing debris
  • Do not remove helmet in case of head injury
  • Do not consume alcohol immediately after a head injury
  • Do not pick up a fallen child with head injury
  • Do not indulge in drunken driving
  • Practice safe methods while driving / sporting / other activities
  • Always follow safety rules
  • Supervise the activities of children

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paul789, United States

I work in a nursing home. A patient recently fell [not witnessed] and he was found unconscious lying face down with blood coming out of his ear. 911 was called immediately. Should the patient be moved onto his back to assess breathing and airway before 911 arrives or should he be left lying prone? I LOOK forward to your answer. Thanks

Dr.khatake, India

in case of head injury when seizurs occurs/in seizurs give him left lateral position,so we can avoid aspiration of contents...from Dr.sachin khatake solapur,maharashtra,india

tafunga, Zimbabwe

Lets say a motor cyclist putting on a helmet is involved in a motor vehicle accident, and you do not remove the helmet, how are you going to assess the injury? Also won't it be difficult to put a cervical collar and be uncomfortable for the patient.

Hoping to hear your advise soon.