First Aid: Head Injuries
A strong blow to the head may cause swelling and bleeding inside the skull. The resulting pressure can injure the brain (concussion). If you have any doubts identifying a concussion, have a healthcare provider check the victim.
Seek medical help if any of the following is true:
Call 911 immediately if the victim has any of the following:
While you wait for help:
Apply direct pressure to control bleeding. (Wear gloves or use other protection to avoid contact with victim's blood.)
Wash a minor surface injury with soap and water after the bleeding stops or is reduced.
Cover the wound with a clean dressing and bandage.
Ice Bumps and Bruises
Place a cold pack or ice on the injury to reduce swelling and pain. Placing a cloth between the injury and the ice pack helps prevent tissue damage from severe cold.
Observe the Victim
Watch for vomiting or changes in mood or alertness. If you notice changes, call for medical help. Signs of concussion may not appear for up to 48 hours.
Tell the person's partner, parent, or roommate about the injury so he or she can continue to observe the victim.
If a cut is deep or continues to bleed, or the edges of skin do not stay together evenly, the wound may need to be closed with stitches, tape, or medical glue. All can help speed healing and reduce the risk of infection and the size of the scar. These may be especially important concerns with large wounds, and wounds on the head or other visible body parts.
If you think a wound may need medical care, visit a healthcare professional as soon as possible. If stitches are needed, they must be applied in the first few hours. A wound that is not properly closed is at risk of serious infection.