Concussions can happen to anyone, not just professional athletes. It’s important to treat yourself well after an accident that results in a concussion.
A concussion is a type of brain injury that occurs after hitting your head, and it can range from mild to serious — for example, bumping your head on a shelf versus one that occurs from a serious car accident.
It is important to see a neurosurgeon, neurologist or emergency room physician right away after a concussion, as symptoms can be delayed and can include seizures, drowsiness, headache, confusion, slurred speech and loss of consciousness.
If you have suffered a concussion, heed these tips after seeing your physician to help you or someone you know recover.
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Get plenty of rest
Your brain needs time to heal, and rest is the best way to do so. You may notice disruptions in your sleep, such as sleeping more or less than usual, or difficulty falling asleep. If you or someone you know looks very drowsy or cannot wake up after a concussion, seek emergency medical help immediately, as this is a sign that a dangerous blood clot has formed.
Take it slowly
It can take time to fully recover from a concussion and go back to your daily routine. If you typically perform multiple tasks at once, take your time performing each one individually — especially those that may require more concentration.
Hold off on physically or mentally demanding activities
A concussion can affect your balance and coordination, so physically demanding activities should be avoided directly following a head injury. Mentally demanding activities such as reading, studying or working at the computer can lead to worsened symptoms.
Talk to your physician about when you can safely drive
Driving requires optimal concentration and fast reaction time, both of which can be impaired following a concussion. Talk to your physician to discuss when you can safely drive or operate large machinery.
If you have suffered a concussion, seek medical care immediately. If your symptoms persist, request an appointment with a USC Neurosciences expert.