How does a concussion feel?
What happens if I have a concussion?
The brain is a vital and particularly sensitive organ. It is therefore well protected inside the skull. In addition, it is surrounded by a fluid that is located between the brain and cranial bones and that also flows around the spinal cord (cerebrospinal fluid). A concussion usually results from a blunt blow to the head or an impact, such as a fall from a bicycle or skiing. Especially children are more often affected by a concussion: Typical causes are, for example, falls from the changing table, from the parental bed or from the stairs.
The concussion occurs when the brain hits the inside of the skull wall as a result of the impact. The outer skin on the head and the skull bones can, but need not necessarily, be injured. Since there is a temporary dysfunction of the brain, the commotio cerebri - sometimes also referred to as commotio by doctors - is classified as a traumatic brain injury.
Traumatic brain injuries are divided into three degrees of severity; the cerebral commotio corresponds to grade I, the lightest form. According to the definition, unconsciousness can occur here, but this does not last longer than 15 minutes; consequential damage is not to be expected in the event of a concussion. You can find out more about the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, therapy and prognosis of traumatic brain injury here.
Most of the time, a concussion causes symptoms that are quite typical. The extent of the complaints can vary. Signs of a concussion can appear immediately after the accident, but in some cases there are several hours between the triggering event and the first complaints.
Signs of Concussion - What is Typical?
A concussion is characterized by short memory gaps, which often affect the period before and sometimes also after the accident (anterograde or retrograde amnesia). It can also be the victim loses consciousness for a short time. If the unconsciousness lasts longer, one must assume a more serious traumatic brain injury. In many cases the cerebral commotio leads to moderate, sometimes severe a headacheoften accompanied by dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. As an expression of temporary brain dysfunction, some people with a concussion are also sensitive to light or loud noises. The sense of smell and taste can also be temporarily irritated.
Infant Concussion - What Should I Look For?
Concussion in children and babies is relatively common. However, infants and toddlers are not yet able to express their complaints, which is why it is particularly important for parents to closely monitor their child after a fall or accident. Basically: If your child was unconscious after an accident, even if only for a few moments, you should always consult a doctor. Crying immediately after a fall can be seen as a good sign. However, if the crying persists, if vomiting occurs, or if the child appears particularly restless or listless and sleepy, you should not wait any longer to see a doctor. In the case of small children, it should also be borne in mind that the symptoms of a concussion can also be delayed, i.e. they can appear after six, twelve or more hours. In principle, parents are well advised to have their child examined by a pediatrician after a fall or blow to the head.
A mild concussion does not necessarily have to be treated. Painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen help against headaches. In some cases, the doctor will also prescribe an anti-nausea medicine. In any case, it is advisable to stay for a few days bed rest to keep. Watching TV or reading is not recommended during this time, as this can increase the symptoms. A severe concussion should be taken particularly seriously. Therefore, these patients typically remain in the hospital for observation for about 24 hours.
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