Head injury, minor

Information and advice about the symptoms of a minor head injury, plus the signs of serious head injury and when to seek immediate medical attention.

Minor head injuries often cause a bump or bruise. As long as the person is awake (conscious) and with no deep cuts, it's unlikely there will be any serious damage.

Other symptoms of a minor head injury may include:

  • a mild headache
  • nausea (feeling sick)
  • mild dizziness
  • mild blurred vision

If these symptoms get significantly worse or if there are other, more serious symptoms, go straight to the accident and emergency (A&E) department of your nearest hospital or call 999 to request an ambulance.

Close observation

If your child or someone you know has sustained a head injury, observe them closely for 24 hours to monitor whether their symptoms change or get worse.

If you've sustained a head injury, ask a friend or family member to stay with you for the next 24 hours to keep an eye on you.

If your child has a minor head injury, they may cry or be distressed. This is normal – with attention and reassurance most children will settle down. However, seek medical assistance if your child continues to be distressed.

Signs of a serious head injury

Seek immediate medical attention if, after a knock to the head, you notice any of these symptoms in either you or your child:

  • unconsciousness, either briefly or for a longer period of time
  • difficulty staying awake or still being sleepy several hours after the injury
  • clear fluid leaking from the nose or ears – this could be cerebrospinal fluid, which normally surrounds the brain
  • bleeding from one or both ears
  • bruising behind one or both ears
  • any sign of skull damage or a penetrating head injury
  • difficulty speaking, such as slurred speech
  • difficulty understanding what people say
  • reading or writing problems
  • balance problems or difficulty walking
  • loss of power or sensation in part of the body, such as weakness or loss of feeling in an arm or leg
  • general weakness
  • vision problems, such as significantly blurred or double vision
  • having a seizure or fit (when your body suddenly moves uncontrollably)
  • memory loss (amnesia), such as not being able to remember what happened before or after the injury
  • a persistent headache
  • vomiting since the injury
  • irritability or unusual behaviour

If any of these symptoms are present, particularly a loss of consciousness – even if only for a short period of time – go immediately to your local A&E department or call 999 and ask for an ambulance.

You should also go to hospital if someone has injured their head and:

  • the injury was caused by a forceful blow to the head at speed, such as being hit by a car or falling one metre or more
  • the person had brain surgery before 
  • the person has had problems with uncontrollable bleeding or a blood clotting disorder, or is taking medication that may cause bleeding problems, such as warfarin
  • the person is intoxicated by drugs or alcohol
  • it's possible the injury wasn't accidental – for example, you deliberately hurt yourself or someone else hurt you on purpose

Your Neighbourhood Professionals Save time and nominate your local pharmacy. Need care but want to stay in your own home? Allure Laser Clinic Coventry Church (Municipal) Charities M Hussain (Chemist) Ltd Countrywide Tax & Trust Corporation Ltd Franklin Funeral Directors Ltd
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Your Neighbourhood Professionals Save time and nominate your local pharmacy. Need care but want to stay in your own home? Allure Laser Clinic Coventry Church (Municipal) Charities M Hussain (Chemist) Ltd Countrywide Tax & Trust Corporation Ltd Franklin Funeral Directors Ltd
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