Tag Archives: Head injury

Straight, No Chaser: Heads Up! Traumatic Brain Injuries (Concussions), Part I

Human Shark Week continues with a discussion about concussions.  The really interesting thing about concussions these days is many individuals seem to have convinced themselves that the risk of a concussion or even continuing in football, wrestling, boxing or MMA type activities after having had concussions won’t deter them from pursuing the glory, fame and fortune to be obtained in putting themselves at risk. That’s a fascinating but very flawed concept, as evidenced by the increasing suicide rate among concussed former athletes.
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is caused by a blunt or penetrating head blow that disrupts some aspect of normal brain function. TBIs may produce changes ranging from brief alterations in mental status or consciousness to an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia (It’s important to note that not all blows to the head result in a TBI.). For the purposes of this discussion, the majority of TBIs that occur each year are concussions. In terms of societal impact, TBIs contributes to a remarkable number of deaths and permanent disability. Every year, at least 1.7 million TBIs occur in the US.
Health care professionals may describe a concussion as a “mild” brain injury because concussions are usually not life threatening. Even so, their effects can be serious. Concussive symptoms usually fall in one of four categories:

  • Thinking/remembering
  • Physical
  • Emotional/mood
  • Sleep

Red Flags:
Get to the ER right away if you have any of the following danger signs after any type of head injury, no matter how minor it may seem:

  • Any difficulty being awakened
  • Any loss of consciousness, confusion or significant agitation
  • Have one pupil (the black part in the middle of the eye) larger than the other
  • Loss of ability to recognize people, places or inability to identify the date or themselves
  • Loss of motion or sensation, weakness, numbness or loss of coordination
  • Persistent, worsening headache
  • Repeated vomiting.
  • Slurred speech or difficulty with expression
  • Seizures
  • Kids will not stop crying and cannot be consoled
  • Kids will not nurse or eat

This afternoon, in Part II, we will discuss complications and treatment options.

Straight, No Chaser: Trauma Quick Tips and The Week In Review

cch trauma
This week in Straight, No Chaser, we reviewed multiple topics related to Trauma, the #1 cause of death between ages 1-44.  Here’s the Week In Review and featured Quick Tips.
1)   Over the weekend, we started with discussions of Amputations of Permanent Teeth and Fingers.

  1. Remember, you lose 1% viability per minute for a dislodged tooth.  Get help quick!  https://jeffreysterlingmd.com/2013/07/27/straight-no-chaser-saturday-quick-tips-the-tooth-of-the-matter-is/
  2. The transport of displaced fingers and teeth is vital to successful reimplantation.  Never place them directly on ice!  https://jeffreysterlingmd.com/2013/07/28/sunday-quick-tips-give-me-the-finger/

2)   On Monday, we talked about Motor Vehicle Crashes.

  1. Avoiding distracted driving is the most important factor in preventing crashes.
  2. Wearing your seat beat is the most important factor in surviving crashes.
  3. The middle back seat (while wearing a seat belt) is the safest place in the car.

3)   On Tuesday, we reviewed Traumatic Brain Injuries/Concussions.

  1. Dr. Flippen, a neurologist from UCLA, reminded us that most patients will recover but never as fast as they wish.
  2. After a head injury, expect not to be released back to sporting activity for at least two weeks.

4)   On Wednesday, we reviewed Mass Disasters and talked about the importance of an Emergency Kit.

  1. Remember to have access to 1 gallon per day per person, half for drinking and half for cooking/hygiene.

5)   On Wednesday, we also discussed Dog, Cat and Shark Bites.

  1. Cat scratches are also a major infection risk and should be evaluated.
  2. Who’d have thought sharks were nibbling you out of curiosity instead of biting you out of hunger?

6)   On Thursday, we reviewed Penetrating Trauma (Gunshot and Stab Wounds)https://jeffreysterlingmd.com/2013/08/01/straight-no-chaser-gunshot-and-stab-wounds/

  1. Remember the ‘Golden Hour’ of Trauma and get seen as soon as possible after being stabbed or shot, just as soon as you ensure your safety.
  2. It is very important to avoid worsening possible spinal injuries by excessive movement.

7)   On Friday, we reviewed Residential Fires and its associated trauma.

  1. In Part I, we emphasized the importance of installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, having an escape plan and not sticking around to fight the fire.   https://jeffreysterlingmd.com/2013/08/02/straight-no-chaser-the-roof-is-on-fire-the-trauma-of-residential-fires/
  2. In Part II, we discussed treatment of possible injuries that may occur.  https://jeffreysterlingmd.com/2013/08/02/straight-no-chaser-your-questions-on-treatment-of-fire-related-injuries/
  3. Remember if any head or neck injuries exist, try your best not to move.
  4. Remember that if you’re feeling like you have the flu after being exposed to a fire, it could be carbon monoxide poisoning!

8)   On Saturday, we reviewed Snakebites.

  1. We debunked the myth about sucking venom out of snakebite wounds.  Don’t do it!

9)   Saturday, we also reviewed Elderly Falls.

  1. We identified head injuries/bleeds, lacerations and hip fractures as injuries to guard against.
  2. We discussed the importance of home improvements, diet, exercise and checking for osteoporosis and vision checking for maintainance of health.

Quick Tips on Elderly Falls


This post is about elderly falls

elderly falls
Are all of you DIYers (do it yourself) ready for a weekend project to help a loved one? Here you go. First, let’s start with some not so fun facts.

  • Every year, one of every three adults older than 65 has a fall.
  • Falls are the #1 cause of injury death in senior citizens.
  • Falls are the #1 cause of nonfatal injuries and trauma hospitalizations.
  • Typical injuries include lacerations, hip fractures and head injuries (including intracranial bleeds). These injuries occur in approximately 20-30% of falls.

Quick Tips

elderly falls prevention

How can older adults prevent falls and the complications of falls? Here are six Quick Tips I hope you’ll share with your loved ones.

  • Start by doing some home improvements to accommodate the shortcomings of your elderly relatives. Consider railings and grab bars – near the bed, on the stairways, shower, tub and toilet. Improve lighting. Clear out and widen walking paths. Consider using a walker.
  • Exercise regularly. It keeps the brain sharp and the leg muscles strong. Inactivity promotes bad outcomes when activity is attempted. Have their doctors arrange for home health care and physical therapy if indicated.
  • Have your loved one and your family review medications with their physician. You need to know which medications and drug interactions can promote loss of balance, dizziness, drowsiness, and/or mental status changes, all of which can lead to falls.
  • Keep those eyes checked. This should be happening at least once a year. Be diligent in changing prescriptions as needed. Could you imagine being a little confused and not being able to see? What would you expect to happen?
  • Pay attention to diet. Nutritional needs are even greater in those with health issues, which is always the case in the elderly. Supplement Vitamin D and calcium for bone strength.
  • Of course, get screened and, if needed, treated for osteoporosis.

The key is to pay attention. You don’t have to let your loved ones wither into oblivion. Simple quick fixes and some love and attention can go a long way to preventing falls and the injuries that accompany them. My mother fell and suffered a massive intracranial bleed with herniation 2 years ago. I’m pleased to note that she’s made a full recovery, and these tips I’ve offered you make a world of difference. Good luck.

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