Head Injury Treatment

Unless the airway is blocked, do not move the person until a medical team arrives and checks for spinal cord injury.

1. Do Hands-Only CPR, if Necessary

If the person is unconscious or not breathing, do ONLY chest compressions.

For an adult, start adult CPR.
For a child, start CPR for children.

2. For Mild or Moderate Head Injuries

To control bleeding, apply clean dressings directly to scalp or facial cuts.
To control swelling, apply ice for 20 to 30 minutes every 2 to 4 hours.
For headache, give over-the-counter acetaminophen. Do not use aspirin, ibuprofen, or other anti-inflammatory drugs, which can increase the risk of bleeding.

3. When to See a Doctor

See a doctor immediately if the person experiences:

Increased drowsiness
Irritability or restlessness
Loss of strength in the hands or feet
Persistent vomiting
Worsening headache

4. Follow Up

Do not leave the person alone for 24 hours.
Check the person every 2 hours for alertness.
Look for new symptoms, such as confusion, vomiting, unequal pupils, or unusual behavior.
If symptoms persist or get worse, see a doctor. The doctor will do an exam and may do blood tests, an X-ray, a CT or CAT scan, or an EEG.

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