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After a Concussion

Call 911 or your emergency number if the person with the concussion will not wake up or has seizures or convulsions.

You or someone close to you has had a mild concussion (a head injury). During the first 48 hours after the injury, watch closely for signs of problems. Follow the doctor’s advice about recovering at home. Use the tips on this handout as a guide.

The First 48 Hours

  • Ask the doctor before using any medications.

  • Mother checking alertness of sleeping child
    Awaken to check alertness as often as the health care provider suggests.
    Don’t take aspirin. Instead, try placing a cold, damp cloth on the head to help relieve a headache.

  • Eat light. Clear liquids such as broth or gelatin are good choices. Don’t drink alcohol.

  • Rest for 2 or 3 days, then slowly return to normal activities.

Tips About Sleeping

For the first day or two, it may be best not to sleep for long periods of time without being checked for alertness. Follow the doctor’s instructions.

Image   Wake every ____ hours for the next ____ hours. Ask questions to check for alertness.

Image Okay to sleep through the night.

Note: A person should not be left alone after a concussion. If no adult can stay with the injured person, let the doctor know.

When to Call the Doctor

If you notice any of the following, call the doctor or health care provider:

  • Vomiting (some vomiting is common, but tell the doctor about any vomiting)

  • Clear or bloody drainage from the nose or ear

  • Constant drowsiness or difficulty in waking up

  • Confusion or memory loss

  • Blurred vision

  • Inability to walk or talk normally

  • Increased weakness or problems with coordination

  • Constant, unrelieved headache

  • Changes in behavior or personality

  • High-pitched crying in infants

 

Online Medical Reviewer: Costello, Melissa W, MD, FACEP
Online Medical Reviewer: Williams, James M, MS, DO, FACEP
Last Review Date: 12/29/2011
© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.