By Mayo Clinic staff
Most head trauma involves injuries that are minor and don’t require hospitalization. However, call 911 or your local emergency number if any of the following signs or symptoms are apparent.
Severe head or facial bleeding
Bleeding or fluid leakage from the nose or ears
Change in level of consciousness for more than a few seconds
Black-and-blue discoloration below the eyes or behind the ears
Cessation of breathing
Loss of balance
Weakness or an inability to use an arm or leg
Unequal pupil size
Any of the signs or symptoms for adults
Refusal to eat
Bulging in the soft spot on the front of the head (infants)
If severe head trauma occurs
Keep the person still. Until medical help arrives, keep the injured person lying down and quiet, with the head and shoulders slightly elevated. Don’t move the person unless necessary, and avoid moving the person’s neck. If the person is wearing a helmet, don’t remove it.
Stop any bleeding. Apply firm pressure to the wound with sterile gauze or a clean cloth. But don’t apply direct pressure to the wound if you suspect a skull fracture.
Watch for changes in breathing and alertness. If the person shows no signs of circulation (breathing, coughing or movement), begin CPR.
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