According to abbreviationfinder, HI stands for head injuries. Head injuries are caused by external force applied to the skull. The brain can always be affected. Head injuries, even if they appear harmless on the surface, should be examined by a doctor so that serious and perhaps irreversible damage to the brain can be ruled out or prevented with early treatment.
What are head injuries?
Head injuries can come in different forms and degrees of severity, so the symptoms that occur can vary greatly. Lacerations on the head are usually associated with heavy bleeding, which should be stopped promptly.
The application of an external force to the cranial bone can cause head injuries. Different types and degrees of severity are distinguished.
If only the skull bone is affected, it is either a skull contusion or a skull fracture (fracture of the skull bone). If the force was so strong that the brain was also injured, this is referred to as a craniocerebral trauma.
Brain injuries are divided into three stages. The concussion (commotio cerebri) is the lightest form, it heals without consequences. In the case of a contusion of the brain (contusio cerebri), there may be an injury to the brain tissue, and there may be long-term consequences.
The most severe form of head injury is contusion of the brain (compressio cerebri), in which cerebral hemorrhage and permanent damage cannot be ruled out.
Head injuries are particularly common during sporting activities. But road traffic, household and work are also places where head injuries often occur. The trauma to the skull is usually a blow or a blow. One possibility is that the head is at rest and an outside blow hits it. This happens, for example, in sports with a racket or kick.
The other variant is that the head moves and is stopped suddenly and hard by a solid object. This can be a wall that you are thrown against or the floor that your head hits after a fall. In both cases, the brain is slammed against the cranial bone from the inside because the force of gravity prevents it from following the sudden change in movement.
Another type of head injury occurs when the force is so severe that the bone in the skull cannot withstand the force and fractures. If the meninges are torn, this is called an open craniocerebral injury, which is one of the most serious head injuries.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
Head injuries can come in different forms and degrees of severity, so the symptoms that occur can vary greatly. Lacerations on the head are usually associated with heavy bleeding, which should be stopped promptly. Otherwise, there will be significant blood loss. If the head injury was caused by a bruise or by a strong external force, then it very often leads to long-lasting headaches.
It is not uncommon for affected people to complain of severe nausea, which can sometimes last for several days. Head injuries can also be caused by allergic reactions. Constant scratching can cause open wounds that become inflamed very easily. Such an infection is usually noticeable through severe pain and a visible production of pus.
Anyone who refrains from visiting the doctor at this point must expect a significant aggravation of the symptoms that occur. However, those who opt for medical and drug treatment can count on a quick and complete recovery. Head injuries can be very diverse, so that the possible symptoms can also occur in different degrees of severity. However, prompt care ensures smooth healing without possible complications.
Diagnosis & History
First aid for craniocerebral trauma and the typical symptoms. Click image to enlarge.
Diagnosis is one of the most important factors in head injuries. The doctor must assess the severity and extent to which the head and brain are affected in order to initiate the correct treatment. Head injuries can appear harmless at first and later turn out to be serious.
Conversely, head injuries sometimes seem more dramatic than they are, for example when the scalp is injured. Since the scalp is traversed by many blood vessels, a cut or laceration on the head bleeds relatively profusely and appears to the layperson as a serious injury.
The doctor can tell the extent of a head injury and whether the brain is affected or not based on the symptoms and through various examinations.
The symptoms begin with mild nausea and range to severe disorders of consciousness, disorders of nerve function, unconsciousness or even coma. X-rays, computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) show the extent to which bones and the brain have been damaged in head injuries.
Head injuries can of course be very varied and occur in different degrees of severity. Superficial head injuries usually heal without any complications. What is important, however, is that an open wound on the head should always be kept clean and clean. If hygiene is neglected at this point, there is a risk of infection.
In this context, further complications are possible if the visit to the doctor is put off. If you do not visit the doctor even if you develop pus, this can even lead to blood poisoning. If there is blood poisoning, there is an acute danger to life. In the case of minor and not too deep injuries on the head surface, gluing or suturing of the wound is not necessary.
The wound should heal without any complications as long as strict hygiene is observed. However, if there is a deeper head injury, then serious complications can be expected, which should usually always be evaluated by a doctor. In particularly bad cases, suturing of the existing wound is unavoidable.
The same applies here: There is a high risk of inflammation. In the case of deep wounds in particular, even stricter attention should be paid to cleanliness and purity. In this way, various complications can be avoided, which can significantly impede the healing process.
When should you go to the doctor?
Head injuries must be taken seriously and observed. Medical advice is always required after a serious fall or collision. In the event of a loss of consciousness, the emergency doctor must be alerted immediately. Even minor injuries must be clarified if pain, bleeding or other symptoms appear. Since the symptoms of a craniocerebral trauma often do not appear until hours later, the person affected must be closely monitored. If he complains of missing memories, dizziness, disorientation or nausea, a doctor must be consulted. Loss of consciousness indicates a serious injury that requires immediate attention.
In the event of respiratory or cardiac arrest, life-sustaining measures must be started immediately. At the same time, an emergency service must be alerted. The patient then has to spend a few days in the hospital and should continue to have regular check-ups even after the initial treatment has been completed. With children, any head injury should be seen by a pediatrician. This is especially true if the child is vomiting or complaining of increasing headaches and dizziness.
Treatment & Therapy
Treatment for head injuries depends on the severity. A laceration should first be bandaged in a sterile manner so that no germs can penetrate. Prompt care from a doctor who will stitch or staple the wound is needed. If no injury is visible from the outside, but the person concerned is dazed or even unconscious, they should be placed in the stable side position immediately.
This prevents vomit from blocking the airway or tongue falling down the throat, which could lead to choking. People with head injuries should always be taken to the hospital for further treatment. There they are monitored to rule out or prevent brain injuries with long-term consequences. If the concussion is only mild, a few days of bed rest will suffice.
If there are severe head injuries with cerebral hemorrhage, the pressure is relieved surgically and a drainage (drainage tube for blood and wound water) is placed. The skull remains open until the swelling has gone down and the wound stops bleeding. If the facial skull is broken, this is also treated surgically.
A skull base fracture usually does not require surgery, it is treated with bed rest and antibiotics to avoid brain infection. Patients with head injuries usually remain in hospital under observation.
Outlook & Forecast
The prognosis for head injuries depends very much on the symptoms. In principle, a distinction can be made between mild and severe forms depending on the type of complaint. A minor head injury has a good chance of a full recovery. Complaints have usually subsided after the second week. Only in very rare cases do they last for months or even years. Patients with a single head injury are statistically prone to a second one. It is advisable to fully heal wounds before engaging in new stress.
The situation is different in the case of severe head injuries. The prognosis is mixed. Older people in particular no longer have sufficient regenerative powers. They sometimes have the worst prospects. Patients need at least six months until recovery is possible at the earliest. Depending on the severity of the injury, the healing process can take years. Some sufferers then have to live with long-term problems. They can no longer properly exercise basic skills. Persistent disorders then require a permanent need for care. It has been proven that if the unconscious person wakes up within the first week, their chances of recovery improve.
To prevent head injuries, it is advisable to wear a helmet during sporting activities or activities with a potential risk of falling. Many head injuries could be avoided by wearing a helmet.
The extent to which follow-up care is necessary depends on the extent of the head injury. If the brain functions are not impaired, a full recovery occurs. Follow-up care is then not necessary. However, head injuries can recur at any time. However, the reasons for this are so varied that they cannot be named conclusively. A certain degree of caution and mindfulness is programmed into people.
However, overconfidence or an incorrect view of the risk make the recurrence of a head injury unpredictable. When practicing certain sports, such as skiing, motorcycling or cycling, people should definitely wear a helmet as protective equipment. If permanent damage to the brain remains, the aftercare can only consist of everyday medical support.
Offers of help such as therapies and medication are becoming more important – also to prevent complications. The extent of medical treatment depends, among other things, on the damage. Examination of the nervous system in the brain also provides information about neurological disorders. In principle, more frequent examinations can be expected if doctors expect an improvement in the symptoms. If the damage has persisted for years, there is a tendency for no recovery to be expected.
You can do that yourself
Any serious head injury, particularly a severe hit or violent fall, should always seek immediate medical attention as there is a risk of concussion or fracture of the skull. In the case of small children, a doctor should always be consulted as a precaution in the event of hits or falls on the head, since the skull bones are not yet fully developed.
In healthy adults, minor head injuries can initially be self-treated. Minor cuts or lacerations after a bicycle fall or other accident should be cleaned and disinfected. It is best to then apply an antibacterial healing ointment and protect the wound with a plaster. Alternatively, a spray bandage can be used.
For blunt injuries associated with tissue swelling or hematoma, immediate cooling is best. A washcloth dipped in cold water or an ice pack can be used. Cold compresses, which can be bought in pharmacies and drugstores, are also helpful. In order to promote the decongestion of the tissue, poultices with healing clay or acetic clay can be used. Over-the-counter painkillers from the pharmacy can help against mild headaches.
If certain symptoms appear after the head injury, in particular dizziness, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision or severe headaches, a doctor must be consulted immediately. This also applies if the injury appears harmless, since severe complications threaten in the event of a delayed concussion or other serious disorders.