Minor head injury - Symptoms 

Symptoms of a minor head injury 

Minor head injuries often cause a bump or bruise. As long as the person is conscious (awake), with no deep cuts, there is unlikely to be any serious damage.

Other symptoms of a minor head injury may include:

  • a mild headache
  • nausea (feeling sick)
  • mild dizziness
  • mild blurred vision

If you or your child experience these mild symptoms after a knock, bump or blow to the head, you won't usually require any specific treatment. However, you should go to your local accident and emergency (A&E) department for a check-up.

Read about treating a minor head injury.

Close observation

If your child or someone you know has sustained a head injury, observe them closely for 24 hours to monitor whether their symptoms change or worsen. If you have sustained a head injury, ask a friend or family member to stay with you for the following 24 hours to keep an eye on you.

If your child has a minor head injury, they may cry or be distressed. This is normal, and with attention and reassurance most children will settle down. However, seek medical assistance if your child continues to be distressed.

Signs of a serious head injury

If, following a knock to the head, you notice any of the below symptoms in either you or your child, seek immediate medical attention:

  • unconsciousness, either briefly or for a longer period of time
  • difficulty staying awake or still being sleepy several hours after the injury
  • clear fluid leaking from the nose or ears (this could be cerebrospinal fluid, which normally surrounds the brain)
  • bleeding from one or both ears
  • bruising behind one or both ears
  • any sign of skull damage or a penetrating head injury
  • difficulty speaking, such as slurred speech
  • difficulty understanding what people say
  • reading or writing problems
  • balance problems or difficulty walking
  • loss of power or sensation in part of the body, such as weakness or loss of feeling in an arm or leg
  • general weakness
  • vision problems, such as significantly blurred or double vision
  • having a seizure or fit (when your body suddenly moves uncontrollably)
  • memory loss (amnesia), such as not being able to remember what happened before or after the injury
  • a persistent headache
  • vomiting since the injury
  • irritability or unusual behaviour

If any of these symptoms are present, particularly a loss of consciousness (even if only for a short period of time), go immediately to your local A&E department or call 999 and ask for an ambulance.

You should also go to hospital if someone has injured their head and:

  • the injury was caused by a forceful blow to the head at speed (such as being hit by a car or falling one metre or more)
  • the person has had previous brain surgery
  • the person has had previous problems with uncontrollable bleeding or a blood clotting disorder, or is taking a drug that may cause bleeding problems (such as warfarin)
  • the person is intoxicated by drugs or alcohol
  • it is possible that the injury was not accidental, for example you deliberately hurt yourself or someone else hurt you on purpose

Page last reviewed: 10/01/2014

Next review due: 10/01/2016

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The 1 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

jacklyncx said on 08 January 2014

Although I have more than three of these symptoms my doctor surgery refuse to give me an appointment or give me a call back, this is not the first time. I will be phoning nh24 at 6.

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