Concussions are a type of mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) that occurs when a blow to the head makes it move back and forth with a lot of force, causing chemical changes in the brain and even potentially damaging brain cells. The CDC reported in 2019 that over 280,000 children visit emergency rooms every year due to sports or recreation-related TBIs. In reality, it is estimated that children get between 1.1 million to 1.9 million concussions per year. Children are more at risk for concussions because their brains are still developing.
Signs of a Concussion
One problem is that many patients don’t receive the necessary treatment in a healthcare setting, as many young children struggle to communicate how they’re feeling. Here are some things parents, coaches, and guardians can look out for:
Headache: Children often experience a headache after experiencing a concussion. In severe cases, the headache can’t be relieved with painkillers, and may even get worse. The headache may also be accompanied by a ringing in their ears, blurry vision, and sensitivity to light or noise.
Nausea or vomiting: After a concussion, children may feel sick, nauseous, or dizzy. They could “see stars” and even vomit, usually because there was a change in the blood flow to the brain. Their coordination or balance may also be affected, as they’re feeling weak or numb.
Temporary amnesia or confusion: Sometimes, an injury to the head can keep the brain from working normally for a short time. Children may have amnesia surrounding the traumatic event and “forget” what happened. They may also feel dazed, confused, or forgetful.
Tozuda Head Impact Indicators can help parents, coaches, and medical professionals determine whether or not a child should be evaluated before returning to their activity. When placed on a child’s helmet, the indicator allows users to identify whether or not the impact was dangerous, preventing users from exacerbating their injury and undergoing medical testing faster.
What to Do After Confirming a Concussion
Once the child has been diagnosed with a concussion, here are a few steps you can take to help them recover:
Seek professional help
In cases where the child is experiencing symptoms like a seizure, a persistent headache, or continued vomiting, it’s best to get immediate medical attention from a pediatric professional. Fortunately, the rise of remote arrangements have made medical professional help more accessible; aside from telehealth services, remote services have made advanced training more available to practitioners – which allows other professionals such as nurses to step into specialized roles with greater responsibilities. And they will likely be your first port of call. Nurses who take an online nursing master’s program can specialize in pediatric care, training them in health promotion, assessment, and the diagnosis of children, including those with concussion. Once accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, they can make urgent, evidence-based decisions on the best course of treatment for the child with minimal supervision from a pediatric doctor.
Get adequate rest
For ordinary concussions, the best treatment is rest to help the brain heal. However, one misconception about concussions is that children should stay in bed for five days in complete darkness. Recent studies show that prolonged rest is actually damaging to recovery; children should get 24 - 48 hours of bed rest with moderate exercise.
Cut down on screen time
As a TBI, the concussion affects how the brain works, so patients should avoid mental activities that strain the brain too much. Patients should limit screen time with video games, television, tablets, and smartphones because these can overstimulate the brain. As children who have concussions may have issues sleeping through the night, a consistent bedtime routine free of technological devices would also help them relax better.
Article specially written for tozuda.com By Alicia Garnett