Emergency: Head Injury - First Aid

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Emergency: Head Injury - First Aid
Emergency: Head Injury - First Aid

Video: Emergency: Head Injury - First Aid

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Video: Head Injury Symptoms & Advice - First Aid Training - St John Ambulance 2023, January
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Emergency: head injury

A head injury is understood to mean a variety of injury patterns. Different tissues, such as the scalp, bones, brain mass or even vessels alone or together, can be affected. If the brain is also involved, it is referred to in medical terminology as a traumatic brain injury.

Serious head injuries often affect young and old people. People under the influence of alcohol or drugs are also particularly at risk. In addition, head injuries always run the risk of further injuries, especially to the cervical spine.

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  • What are the symptoms of head injuries?
  • How can I provide first aid?
  • Things to know about head injuries

What are the symptoms of head injuries?

Head injuries can occur in a number of ways, such as a fall, impact, blow to the head or a traffic accident. The possible extent of the injuries ranges from skin injuries (e.g. abrasion, laceration) and bone bruises (e.g. skull bruises) to broken bones (e.g. broken nose, skull base fracture) to injuries to brain tissue (e.g. concussion, brain contusion, cerebral hemorrhage). Injuries to the cranial bones together with brain tissue are referred to as traumatic brain injury. The spine can also be affected.

With skull injuries, only a few signs of injury are externally visible and the brain can still be affected. The person affected is in acute danger, especially if they are unconscious.

Typical symptoms of head injuries include:

  • (strong headache,
  • external signs of injury, e.g. bruise, bump,
  • Bleeding,
  • Swellings and misalignments (e.g. of the nose with a broken nose),
  • Asymmetry of the face (with facial skull fractures) as well
  • open breaks.

The following signs indicate that the brain is involved (e.g. concussion, bruised skull):

  • Dizziness,
  • vomiting several times immediately after the event or up to six hours afterwards,
  • Disorientation, gaps in memory,
  • clear fluid (brain fluid) leaks out of the ears, nose or mouth
  • Sudden sleepiness, difficult to wake up, slurred speech, sudden change in character, unsteady gait,
  • Unconsciousness,
  • Seizures.

How can I provide first aid?

Every head injury must be clarified by a doctor, even if there is (initially) no evidence of brain involvement. Therefore, dial the emergency number 144.

The person concerned is conscious

  • Position the person with the upper body slightly elevated.
  • Try to move the person's head as little as possible.
  • If available: Cover wounds in the head area with a sterile and aseptic wound pad.
  • Do not leave the injured person alone and monitor their breathing.
  • Keep the person warm (cover up).

In the event of unconsciousness or sudden loss of consciousness

Shout out loud for help and make bystanders aware of the emergency situation. Head injuries can also affect the cervical spine, so you must be careful during an emergency check!

  • Check awareness: speak and shake gently.
  • Check your breathing: overstretch your head, “hear, see, feel” for max. ten seconds.

    • Breathing is normal: place the person on their side in a stable position. Check your breathing again and again until the emergency services arrive.
    • No normal breathing available: Immediately start resuscitation measures: 30x chest compressions, 2x ventilation. Repeat this until the rescue workers are on site or the person shows signs of life. Make sure you get help and take turns with another helper!

More on the subject: first aid measures

Accident with a motorcycle: the helmet removal

Head injuries often arise as a result of a traffic accident. If the injured person is a motorcyclist, first aiders are often faced with the question: should the helmet be removed or not? The following applies: The helmet must be removed in any case. Only in this way is it possible to control breathing and, if necessary, carry out life-saving first aid measures.

Proceed as follows:

  • As a first measure, secure the scene of the accident (hazard warning lights, warning vest, warning triangle).
  • Check awareness by speaking to the person out loud and clearly touching the shoulders. If possible, open the visor of the helmet.
  • If the person concerned is conscious, support him / her in removing the helmet
  • If he / she does not react: Carefully turn the person on their back.
  • Open the chin strap of the helmet. If the person wears glasses, take them off.
  • Kneel above the head, grasp the helmet with both hands at the lower edge and fix it between your knees.
  • Pull the helmet apart slightly and gently tilt it backwards until you can see the person's nose.
  • Now grab your hand: Hold the helmet by the chin guard with one hand and support the person's neck with the other hand. How to take off the helmet carefully.
  • Gently put the person's head down with both hands and immediately begin breathing control and resuscitation if necessary.

Things to know about head injuries

The skull bone consists of many parts. These combine to form a face and a brain skull. At the base of the skull there are many small passageways for vessels and nerves. The largest opening at the base is the passage point for the spinal cord. The bony skull is covered with a thick layer of connective tissue, the so-called scalp. Because of the good blood circulation, head injuries can easily lead to bleeding.

The brain is well protected by the meninges and cerebrospinal fluid. The skin directly under the bones is called the hard meninges, the dura mater. Underneath is the cobweb skin. Like the hard meninges, this spans the furrows of the brain. The strongly whitish markings with the fine collagen fibers give it a cobweb-like appearance, hence the name cobweb skin. The delicate brain membrane (pia mater) is the innermost layer. It rests directly on the brain and spinal cord and covers them completely and extends into all furrows. It consists of soft, delicate connective tissue. If you fall on your head, bleeding can occur between these meninges. The result is an increase in pressure in the skull, which can be life-threatening.Therefore, if in doubt, you should always consult a doctor.

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