What to do after a concussion

A blow to the head in Ohio can result in a concussion. The resulting decrease in neurologic function is usually temporary, and a concussion does not cause structural damage to the brain. Nevertheless, a concussion is still a traumatic brain injury and requires certain responses to help ensure a full recovery. 

Conventional wisdom used to hold that a person with a concussion should not go to sleep. However, as explained by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, doctors generally no longer recommend that a person remain awake after a concussion. Sleep and rest can help a concussion patient to recover. In the absence of symptoms like difficulty walking or dilated pupils, a concussion patient who is arousable and able to engage in conversation is probably safe to go to sleep. 

However, the Cleveland Clinic advises monitoring a concussion patient, while asleep and awake, for 24 to 48 hours following the injury. The reason is that the symptoms of a concussion may mask another, more serious brain injury. While it is generally acceptable to let a concussion patient sleep, it may also be a good idea to try to awaken such patients, particularly children, several times during the night. Inability to wake up is a danger sign of a potentially more serious condition, and a doctor should evaluate it as soon as possible. Other warning signs include atypical behavior; severe, persistent headache; nausea/vomiting and neurologic symptoms such as slurred speech or numbness and tingling. 

Waking or sleeping, it is important for concussion patients to allow the brain to rest. This primarily means avoiding any activities that make the symptoms worse. It usually takes one to two weeks to recover from a concussion. 

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