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Treatment and first aid

Updated: Sep 15, 2021

A cold pack can help to reduce swelling.

People can often treat mild head injuries at home. Applying a cold pack to the area can help to reduce swelling.

A person can also take Tylenol but should avoid non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

(NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and aspirin, unless a doctor prescribes them.

In the first 24 hours after a mild head injury, a person should ask someone to check on them regularly.

If a person loses consciousness or shows signs of confusion or memory loss, it is vital to see a doctor.

A person should avoid using drugs or alcohol, driving, or playing contact sports after a head injury. They may need to take time off work or school.

Severe head injuries require immediate medical attention. Anyone who sees someone with symptoms of a severe head injury should call 911 or their local emergency number.

It is best not to move a person with a severe head injury to avoid making their injuries worse. People should also not attempt to remove a person’s helmet if they are wearing one.

Severe head injuries often require a stay in the hospital, surgery, or long-term treatment.


Preventing head injuries is not always possible, but some steps can help reduce the risk. These include:

  • wearing a seatbelt when in a vehicle

  • wearing a helmet when cycling or using a motorcycle

  • following safety precautions when playing contact sports

A head injury can have lasting consequences, so it is essential to take precautions when necessary.



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