School Nurse Emergency Highlight - Head Injury

A head injury is any trauma to the scalp, skull, or brain. The injury may be only a minor bump on the skull or a serious brain injury. Head injury can be either closed or open.

School Nurse Emergency Highlight - Head Injury

Head Injury

  1. Examine head injury and call 000 immediately if there is major laceration or major force of injury. If wound is only superficial, cleanse with saline and cover with dressing.
  2. If no bleeding, apply wrapped ice pack to minor knock or swelling and assess student for suspected concussion. Symptoms include loss of consciousness or responsiveness, slow to get up, lack of balance or coordination, clutching of head, dazed or blank look. Other symptoms can include dizziness, seizure, blurred vision, headache, nausea, drowsiness, anxiety and amnesia.
  3. Call 000 if student vomits or loses consciousness. Reassure student while waiting for ambulance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are visible external injuries a good way to gauge the severity of a student’s head injury? No. Some minor scalp wounds may bleed profusely while some less visible impact injuries can cause major brain impairment. 

What is concussion? If a student suffers a blow to the head, the brain can be shaken inside the skull. This is called concussion. It tends to result in a short loss of consciousness from a few seconds to a few minutes. Most people make a full recovery from a concussion, but occasionally it may become more serious.

What can I use as a cold compress? Never place ice directly on the skin as it’s too cold. Wrap a towel or clothing around frozen vegetables or ice and apply to the injury. You can also use a towel or clothing that’s been soaked in cold water and wrung out. 

Can I give paracetamol for a post-injury headache? Only if there are no signs and symptoms of concussion, and the parent has given permission.

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