Minor Head Injury
Most head injuries aren't serious. You don't usually need to go to hospital and should make a full recovery within 2 weeks.
Call 999 if someone has hit their head and has:
- Been knocked out and hasn't woken up
- Difficulty staying awake or keeping their eyes open
- A fit (seizure)
- Problems with their vision
- Clear fluid coming from their ears or nose
- Bleeding from their ears or bruising behind their ears
- Numbness or weakness in part of their body
- Problems with walking, balance, understanding, speaking or writing
- Hit their head in a serious accident, such as a car crash
Also call 999 if you can't get someone to A&E safely.
How to treat a minor head injury
If you don't need to go to hospital, you can usually look after yourself or your child at home.
It's normal to have symptoms such as a slight headache, or feeling sick or dazed, for up to 2 weeks.
To help recovery:
✔ Hold an ice pack (or a bag of frozen peas in a tea towel) to the injury regularly for short periods in the first few days to bring down any swelling
✘ Do not go back to work or school until you're feeling better
|✔ Rest and avoid stress – you or your child don't need to stay awake if you're tired|
✘ Do not drive until you feel you have fully recovered
✔ Try to relax - stress can make headaches worse
✘ Do not play contact sports for at least 3 weeks – children should avoid rough play for a few days
✔ Take paracetamol to relieve pain or a headache – do not use ibuprofen or aspirin as they could cause the injury to bleed
✘ Do not take drugs or drink alcohol until you're feeling better
✔ Make sure an adult stays with you or your child for at least the first 24 hours – call 111 for advice if there's nobody who can stay with you
|✘ Do not take sleeping pills while you're recovering unless a doctor advises you to|
- Your or your child's symptoms last more than 2 weeks
- You're not sure if it's safe for you to drive or return to work, school or sports