March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. It’s common for children to bump their heads from time to time. While these minor injuries can be upsetting, most instances do not cause serious issues. In rare cases, problems can occur.
What is a concussion?
A concussion is the same as a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). It can be caused by a significant blow or jolt to the head or neck that temporarily disrupts how the brain normally works.
How common are concussions in children?
It can be common in pediatric patients for various reasons including falls, contact sports and accidents. Concussions are twice as likely to occur in males.
What are symptoms of a concussion?
Severe symptoms include confusion and impaired awareness, amnesia, headache, dizziness and incoordination. A post-concussion syndrome may develop in the following hours or days. This means that symptoms can continue to develop after the initial accident. These symptoms can include headaches, sensitivity to light and sound, mood swings, sleeping too much or too little and dizziness.
At what point should we visit our provider?
Any child who is suspected of having a concussion should be evaluated by their provider right away.
What does treatment look like?
Treatment can include mental and physical rest and a slow return to activities. Many athletes who have suffered from a concussion benefit from working with physical therapy. Waverly Health Center’s physical therapy department run by Taylor Physical Therapy has a program in place for patients suffering from concussions.
Are there important warning signs I should look for?
If your child has loss of consciousness, seizures, amnesia, persistent/severe vomiting or headache, you should take them to the nearest emergency department for evaluation.
Stacy Huck, CPNP-PC
Pediatrics, Christophel Clinic & Nashua Clinic