A concussion is a brain or head injury caused by trauma to the head. Concussions are common injuries, and often result in no long-term damage. Nevertheless, getting a concussion can be painful, and on occasion may include more serious side effects, such as brain damage. Watching for the side effects of a concussion following an injury or accident can let people know when to seek medical treatment.
Mild side effects of a concussion typically occur within a few minutes or hours following an injury, and may last for several days. These may include nausea, dizziness, shock, headache, or pain around the injured area. Concussed persons may not remember being injured, or may have some short-term memory loss of the events leading up to the injury. Vision may also become temporarily blurry immediately following the injury.
Other side effects of a concussion that may be cause for some concern include vomiting, repeated loss of consciousness, severe chills, and an inability to remember what has happened, even after being informed repeatedly. These side effects may be caused by swelling in the brain, which can also disrupt reflexes, affect memory and speech, and cause feelings of extreme drowsiness. Medical experts generally recommend seeking prompt medical attention if any of these side effects occur.
Even with a mild injury, a concussion affect someone for several days or even weeks. Post-concussive syndrome is a documented medical occurrence, and usually presents as a severe headache, difficulty concentrating, and dizziness. In addition, a blow to the head may cause abrasions, cuts, or bumps that may be painful and tender for some time. Once a doctor has ruled out any serious issues, care for these side effects usually involves taking a mild pain reliever and resting. If the concussion occurs as the result of sports training or activity, the patient may be told to avoid resuming the activity until the pain or other side effects have worn off.
Side effects of a serious concussion can be more severe, and may last longer. If a person has a history of concussions or head injuries, he or she may be more likely to suffer neurological damage, which may lead to long-term memory loss, personality disorders, or other psychological conditions triggered by the trauma. Another side effect of a concussion is that it may make it easier to suffer another concussion in the future, which is why many athletes in contact sports are advised to retire after having several head injuries.