Head trauma is any kind of injury to the head- the skull, the brain or just the scalp. Head injuries may vary in intensity depending on how hard the blow to the head is. Injury to the head is serious if it has caused damage to the brain, blood vessels therein or fractured the skull.

Symptoms of a serious head injury:

  • colourless fluid or blood leaking from the ear or nose
  • deteriorating level of response
  • loss of consciousness, even briefly
  • two pupils of unequal sizes
  • severe bleeding in the head or face
  • confusion and disorientation
  • seizures
  • vomiting
  • headache and stiff neck
  • inability to move arms and legs

If you see any of these above symptoms, get medical help as soon as possible.

What should you do if severe head trauma occurs? 

  • Call ambulance for medical help
  • Keep the injured person lying down and still, with the head and shoulders slightly elevated.
  • Do not move the neck
  • Do not attempt to clean the wound as it could make the condition worse.Any objects wedged in the wound should not be removed as it may make the injury worse.
  • Use a cold compress against the injury. If there is bleeding, apply pressure to the wound using a clean cloth.
  • Monitor closely for any changes in responsiveness, in pulse or breathing until medical team arrives.

To gauge the severity of the head injury, St. John’s Ambulance suggests an acronym to help you remember what to do- AVPU

Alertness- Check if the person is alert and responsiveness

Voice- Find out if the person responds to voice and is able to answer questions

Pain- If they do not respond to voice, verify if they respond to pain. Pinch them to check for any sign of response.

Unresponsiveness- Are they responsive in any way to your questions, your voice or pain?

If they are not alert or responsive, or if their level of responsiveness is changing, get medical attention as soon as possible.