To help prevent head injuries, try the following suggestions:
If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation. Never drink and drive.
Wear a seat belt or helmet.
If you play sports, wear appropriate protective headgear.
If your job involves working high above the ground, use approved safety equipment to prevent accidental falls. Never work in a high place if you feel dizzy or light-headed, have been drinking alcohol, or are taking medication that can make you dizzy or affect your balance.
Have your vision checked at least once a year. Poor vision can increase your risk of falls and other types of accidents. This is especially true if you are elderly or if you work in high places.
If you have minor head trauma, your doctor may decide to monitor your condition in the emergency department for a short period of time, or to admit you to the hospital for a brief period of observation. While you are in the emergency department or in your hospital room, medical personnel will ask you periodically about your symptoms, check your vital signs, and confirm that you are awake and can respond. Once your doctor is satisfied that you can be sent home safely, he or she will allow you to leave on the condition that a responsible adult will stay with you at home for a day or two to help monitor your condition. This person will be given specific instructions about possible danger signs to watch for.
If you are troubled by headaches after your head injury, your doctor may suggest that you try acetaminophen (Tylenol) first. If this does not work, your doctor probably will prescribe a more potent pain reliever. Avoid taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Naprosyn) or indomethacin (Indocin) during your recovery period since these drugs can increase the risk of bleeding inside the head.
In people with more extensive head injuries, treatment depends on the type of injury, its severity and its location. In many cases, treatment takes place in an intensive care unit with mechanical ventilation (breathing assistance), and with medications to control pain, decrease swelling inside the brain, maintain blood pressure and prevent seizures. Surgery may be performed to repair a depressed skull fracture, drain an epidural or subdural hematoma, or treat a brain hemorrhage or contusion.