A concussion, a type of traumatic brain injury, is most often caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head. While symptoms can show up soon after injury, some can take hours — or even days — to arise. Edward Pyun, MD, Trauma Medical Director at Good Samaritan Medical Center, answers frequently asked questions related to concussions:
Q. How do I know if it’s a concussion?
Dr. Pyun: The most common symptom is usually headache. Once symptoms occur, there should be no waiting to seek medical care as symptoms may represent a more significant injury or even a life-threatening problem.
Q: When should I go to an Emergency Room vs. Urgent Care vs. calling my primary care physician?
Dr. Pyun: A visit to the Emergency Room is warranted if an injury to the head results in lost consciousness or if taking blood thinning medication. Heading to the ER is also recommended for symptoms such as headache, vision changes, decreased alertness, nausea and/or vomiting. If no symptoms occur after a head bump or injury, going to an Urgent Care may be sufficient.
Q: Who is at most risk for concussions?
Dr. Pyun: Older patients generally have a higher risk of falling. In fact, patients over the age of 65 often fall at least one time per year and some even more than that. Newly prescribed medications for high blood pressure may result in lower than normal blood pressure, making them more prone to passing out, such as when standing up from a sitting position too quickly, which can causing them to fall. Although it may be hard to diagnose a concussion and treatment options are limited, experts stress the importance of avoiding a second concussion before the first heals as multiple concussions can multiply the damage.
To learn more or schedule a Good Samaritan Medical Center trauma injury prevention program in your organization or community, call 303-689-4623.