Children and adolescents are among those patients with the greatest risk for a concussion. The following tips offer methods for properly recognizing and responding to concussions in this patient population:
Although signs and symptoms of a concussion can take time to appear and become evident, look for signs of (1) any forceful blows to the head or body resulting in rapid movement of the head; and (2) any change in the patients’ behavior, thinking, or physical functioning.
- Self-Reported Symptoms
Patients may report several symptoms that can be associated with a concussion, including emotional symptoms, thinking/remembering symptoms (eg, having difficulty thinking clearly or concentrating), sleep-related symptoms, and physical symptoms (eg, headaches, nausea, vomiting, or numbness).
- Signs Reported by Caregivers
Signs and symptoms observed by caregivers of patients who may have had a concussion include the patient appearing dazed or stunned, being confused about events, answering questions slowly, and repeating questions.
- When to Seek Help
Caregivers and patients should be aware of symptoms that worsen over time. Patients should be taken to the emergency department immediately if they display symptoms such as one of their pupils being larger than the other, drowsiness or inability to be woken up, or the presence of a headache that worsens or does not go away.
Patients with a concussion should take rest breaks as needed, spend fewer hours at school, be provided more time to complete tests or assignments, receive help with schoolwork, and reduce the time they spend reading, writing, or on the computer.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
www.cdc.gov/headsup/pdfs/custom/headsupconcussion_fact_sheet_for_schools.pdf. Accessed March 11, 2015.