Minor head injury 

Introduction 

Media last reviewed: 13/02/2013

Next review due: 13/02/2015

Minor head injuries are common in people of all ages and should not result in any permanent damage.

The symptoms of a minor head injury are usually mild and short lived. Symptoms 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.

If your symptoms significantly worsen or you develop any new symptoms after being discharged, you should return to A&E straight away or call 999 and ask for an ambulance.

How common are head injuries?

Each year in England and Wales, around 700,000 people attend A&E departments with a head injury. Of these, over 80% only have a minor injury.

The most common causes of head injuries are falls, assaults and road traffic collisions.

Children are more likely to sustain a minor head injury because they have high energy levels and little sense of danger.

Treating a minor head injury

Minor head injuries can usually be treated at home and most people will make a full recovery in a few days.

For the first 24 hours after the injury, it's important for someone to stay with the person who was injured, to keep an eye out for any new symptoms that develop.

It is also important to rest and avoid aggravating the injury with stressful situations and avoid contact sports until fully recovered.

Mild headaches can be treated with paracetamol, but always read the manufacturer’s instructions and remember that children under 16 should never be given aspirin.

Read more about how to treat a minor head injury.

Preventing head injuries

Although it can be difficult to predict or avoid a head injury, there are some steps you can take to help reduce the risk of more serious injury.

These include:

  • wearing a safety helmet when cycling
  • reducing hazards in the home that may cause a fall
  • ‘childproofing’ your home
  • using the correct safety equipment for work, sport and DIY

Read more about how to prevent a minor head injury.




Page last reviewed: 10/01/2014

Next review due: 10/01/2016

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