Many people in Alabama have probably experienced a bump on the head that left them feeling disoriented or dazed, or that resulted in a lingering headache. Although individuals under the age of 18 and over the age of 65 are most at risk for a traumatic brain injury, particularly from a fall, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that TBIs are a risk for every age group.

Falls are far and away the most common causes of TBI-related emergency department visits and hospitalizations. The second highest reason people visit an ED for head trauma occurs when they are hit in the head by an object or strike the head against an object. The second leading cause of TBI-related hospitalizations is car crashes.

The Mayo Clinic lists a wide range of symptoms to watch for in the immediate aftermath of a head trauma of any kind:

  • Unconsciousness
  • Seizures
  • Clear fluid leaking from ears or nose
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dilated pupils

All of these are signals that a person needs emergency medical attention. However, a visit to a medical provider is warranted even after these seemingly milder symptoms:

  • Sleep pattern changes, drowsiness or fatigue
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Sensitivity to lights or noises
  • Ringing ears
  • Dizziness or balance problems

Some individuals may consider these issues to be temporary and decide to wait and see if they go away on their own. In some cases, though, the trauma causes bleeding or bruising that creates pressure against the brain inside the skull. The pressure may develop slowly, so it is important to continue to watch for developing symptoms over the weeks following the head trauma.