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People who’ve just had their brains jostled may be in no condition to decide if they need medical care and even if they don’t lost consciousness, it can be dangerous. Going to the hospital after a head injury can mean the difference between life and death. So when in doubt, go to the hospital. Better to be safe than sorry, and here’s why:

The hospital will give you a CAT Scan that will “look” inside your head and determine if there is any bleeding in your brain, which can be life-threatening if it is not detected. Enough blood in the right spot will press down on the brain and squeeze it. These forms of bleeding are called epidural and subdural hematomas. Slow bleeding can force parts of the brain against the inside of the skull and through the small hole in the base of the skull called the foramen magnum. These important brain areas control breathing and heart rate and they stop working when they get squeezed and this is what results in death. This is easily diagnosed with a CAT Scan but it requires a surgery to remove the blood. The quicker the surgery, the better the chances for a good outcome. A person who has a concussion can look and even feel just fine, but there is a small chance (about 1 in 1000) that slow bleeding is taking place.

The symptoms of a concussion are:

* Loss of consciousness, even if only briefly;

* Any period of amnesia, or loss of memory for the event;

* Feeling dazed or confused;

* Headache;

* Vomiting;

* Seizure;

* For children under 2, any scalp swelling or abnormality in the way they usually behave.

Family and friends can be instrumental in helping choose a course of action that is best for the injured person. The injured person may try and brush it off but when in doubt, go to the hospital!

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