Keep those noggins safe – tips for preventing brain injury
Whether it came from a fall off a bike or a car accident, brain injuries can affect everyone from children to adults. Catherine McClung Smith, MD, explained the types of brain injuries, tips to help you prevent one and what symptoms you should watch for should you experience one.
“Traumatic and nontraumatic are the two types of brain injuries. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are caused by a bump, blow, jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury. These can be caused by a fall, assault, car crash, or child abuse, for example. Non-traumatic brain injuries are caused by internal factors such as a stroke, tumor, exposure to toxins or lack of oxygen,” said Dr. McClung Smith.
TBI can range from mild to severe depending on the severity and location of the injury. A person may experience short or long-term effects, such as loss of consciousness, cognitive issues, changes in behavior and loss of motor function.
How can I prevent a traumatic brain injury?
Nearly half of TBIs are caused by a fall. It is important to protect yourself and take precautions. Dr. McClung-Smith suggested these tips to help prevent a TBI:
- Wear a helmet when riding a bike, ATV, scooter, skateboard, or riding a horse, skiing, or playing contact sports like football or hockey.
- Wear your seatbelt every time you are in a car.
- Make your home safe for children and adults. Keep pathways clear. Remove items that can cause you to trip and fall. Install safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs with young children around. Place a soft material like mulch or sand under your children’s playset.
- Prevent older adult falls. Talk to your doctor about medications that may make you dizzy or lightheaded. Have your vision and eyeglass prescription checked each year. Do strength and balance exercises.
What TBI symptoms should you watch out for?
If a blow to the head occurs, be on the lookout for these symptoms of a mild TBI:
- A dazed, stunned look
- A severe headache
- A feeling of pressure in the head
- Memory issues (They can’t recall what happened before or after the event)
- Nausea or vomiting
If any of these signs are present, see your doctor or go to the emergency department immediately.
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