Symptoms of a concussion are not the usual topic of conversation around dinner tables. However, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics: “diagnosis of pediatric concussion cases in emergency rooms increased by 58%…”
Smart parenting says to take such statistics seriously. We do!
Let’s begin with our working definition of a concussion. For our purposes, it is an injury to the brain, which temporarily impairs brain functions. Concussions generally result from a blow to the head.
Spinal fluid normally encircles the brain and forms a protective shield within the skull. When the head takes a hit, the brain will bounce about and bump into the interior of the skull. This unusual activity can bruise the brain, stretch nerve fibers and tear blood vessels, which may result in a concussion.
Here at Ouchie Cap, we are constantly on the quest for natural ways to safeguard your precious child’s health. We advocate that prevention is always the optimal cure for illness or injury.
Methods Parents can Take to Prevent Childhood Concussions
The CDC study found that most injuries leading to concussion occurred during play. A few examples are: soccer, basketball, gymnastics and bicycling.
Especially for new parents: your baby is not immune. Symptoms of a concussion are harder to detect, since babies can’t tell you what hurts. Generally, they might sustain head injuries from being aggressively shaken or an automobile accident.
You can predict and prevent most hazardous accidents by becoming environmentally conscious.
- Buckle your infant/toddler into an age appropriate car seat.
- Observe playgrounds. Equipment should be surrounded with shock absorbent materials such as sand or wood chips.
- Ensure your child wears his helmet when 1) riding his trike or bike 2) participating in contact sports such as football or hockey or when riding horseback.
Note: Kids do not like wearing helmets. If your child throws a tantrum, just play the parent card. You know – the one that reads – “Because I said so. That’s why!”
- Childproof your home to the extent possible. Install safety gates at bottom and top of staircases. Install guards on windows to ensure children will not fall out of them.
5 Symptoms of a Concussion
Symptoms of a concussion are not easy to establish in small children. Be mindful, loss of consciousness is not the sole determining factor in concussions. Anytime your child gets hit on the head, you should remain alert for the symptoms of a concussion.
1. Loss of Consciousness
If your child sustains a mild concussion, he may not lose consciousness or if so, it will be fleeting.
If the concussion is severe, he may experience a protracted loss of consciousness.
Note: in compliance with recommendations from an International Panel of Neurologists, athletes younger than age 18 cannot continue to play if symptoms of a concussion are demonstrated. They contend it isn’t possible to correctly assess the injured player immediately.
Previous guidelines allowed doctors or trainers to clear athlete to return to the game.
This is a good, good move. Now coaches can’t shrug off head injuries with, “Oh, he just got his bell rung. He will be fine.” Overly zealous parents can’t insist their kid play injured. And, kids can’t plead – “Put me in coach. I’m good to go.”
2. Cognitive symptoms of a concussion
Cognitive symptoms of a concussion relate to conscious thought, such as things remembered, reasoning ability or activities involving deep thinking.
Watch your child for signs such as:
- Loss of memory
- Slow to respond to questions
- Gets confused easily
- Frequently distracted
3. Physical Symptoms of a Concussion
- Headaches that hang on despite pain meds such as acetaminophen
- Unsteady balance
- Vision blurry
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Light sensitivity
- Unusually Clumsy
- Ringing in ears
4. Emotional Symptoms of a Concussion
5. Sleep symptoms of a concussion
- Hard time falling asleep
- Wakes up frequently during the night
- Daytime fatigue due to sleep interruption
When is Medical Intervention Prudent?
For infants, always contact the pediatrician. For children of any age, who experience loss of consciousness, no matter how brief, call the doctor. Call your physician if your child presents with these symptoms of a concussion immediately following the incident:
- Continuous crying
- Repetitive vomiting
- Unsteady balance, walking etc.
- Hard to wake up
- If you have a gut feeling something is not right, i.e. breathing sounds, skin color
When to Call Emergency Assistance (911)
You should call for emergency assistance if your child evidences any of the following symptoms of a concussion following a head injury:
- Loss of consciousness for several minutes
- Stiff neck or pain in neck area
- Irregular breathing
- Fluid or bleeding coming from mouth, nose or ear
- Dissimilar sized pupils
- Sees “stars”
- Slurry speech or talking nonsense
How to Treat Symptoms of Concussion
The oldest, best therapy for concussion is rest and ice. As a parent, you should remain vigilant for new symptoms of concussion for two weeks or longer. After two weeks, your child can usually resume limited activities. Be mindful, a second injury could be seriously problematic later on.
Your pediatrician will probably not arrange for a CT scan for a mild concussion.
Ouchie Cap like jim-dandy to the rescue
We would never presume to tell you that Ouchie Cap is a cure for concussions. But it is invaluable in treating pain and reducing brain swelling following a mild concussion. Just put the jim-dandy gel packs in your freezer.
When you’re ready to use them, insert the gel packs in the cap. Put the amazing cap on your child’s head. The formula is 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off, unless your doctor gives different instructions.
Your child will be on bed rest for the first 24 hours. Ouchie Cap will work behind the scenes to provide its jim-dancy therapy.
At Ouchie Cap, kid’s hot and cold packs are not a treatment for your child’s symptoms of a concussion.
After Recovery – what then?
As long as recovery protocols are observed, most kids fully recover from concussions in about two weeks. However, certain symptoms of a concussion can linger, usually in the form of headaches or fatigue.
Ensure your child gets sufficient sleep at night and plenty of rest during the daytime, until all symptoms are resolved.
He/she is not going to like this one a little bit, but school age children should avoid playing on the computer, video games, texting, reading or other brain-stretching activities. It takes time for head injuries to heal.
Rest means rest. The brain needs a time out from thinking.
If your child plays sports, she must be free of symptoms before doing any strenuous activities. For contact sports in particular, the school district may require written authorization from the doctor.
Last word: attempting to restrain toddlers from their busy-ness for several days is not easy. You might tell them that Ouchie Cap “knows” when it’s safe to run, jump and skip again. Toddlers are smart. They will soon understand that their buddy, either Toby Puppy or Tulip Bunny, is helping them to get well.
Congratulations: You are now an informed parent who can recognize symptoms of a concussion and deliver correct home care if your child sustains a head injury.
BTW!: If you’re child just has a headache, and you’re in the clear on the concussion front, check out: The Top 5 Natural Ways To Help Your Child’s Headache