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What you should know about head injuries

Any accident at work that causes a head trauma could lead to a brain injury, whether you tripped over a cord left in the middle of a walkway or something above you fell and struck you. While you may or may not see stars when you hit your head, the effects of the blow can have a variety of consequences, and some of them may be quite serious.

Traumatic brain injury symptoms

According to the Brain Injury Association of America, the problems you experience after the initial interruption to mental function that characterizes a traumatic brain injury may vary based on which part of your head was struck. For example, since the two sides control different functions, a blow on the right side may affect your creative thinking, but on the left, the same injury may affect your ability to speak or understand language.

Regardless of location, you could also be facing common symptoms such as headache, dizziness, nausea and difficulty focusing or concentrating. A TBI may also affect the following:

  • Sleep patterns
  • Vision
  • Hearing
  • Sensory abilities
  • Balance

Your ability to control your emotions may also change. Mood swings, depression and anxiety are common mental problems associated with brain injuries.

Delayed reactions

Bumping your head does not automatically cause damage to the brain, but you may not notice symptoms right away if you are experiencing bleeding inside your skull. This leads to pressure that increases in the hours, days or even weeks after the accident. It is important to have someone available to keep an eye on you to ensure that a problem does not develop once you are home and resting.

Diagnosis and treatments

The physician who examines you will want to know the details surrounding your accident, and may order x-rays or a CT scan to look for swelling, bleeding or skull fractures. He or she will probably evaluate your mental status, eye movement, and muscle strength and control during the initial examination, as well.

Because there is the risk for bleeding, you should not take aspirin or ibuprofen if you have a head injury. The doctor may recommend acetaminophen, though, if your injury is mild. Fluid buildup may create more pressure in your skull, so you may receive a prescription for medication that encourages elimination of these. You may also receive medication to prevent seizures, since these sometimes occur during the days immediately after a TBI.

Sustaining an injury at work often involves completing specific paperwork to receive workers' compensation benefits that may help cover the expenses and lost wages. An attorney may be able to provide assistance with these and meeting any deadlines that apply.

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