So Your Kiddo Bonked Their Head?
We hear more about concussions and head injuries lately, and with good reason – the incidence is, in fact, rising among kids. Even the terminology can be confusing, though. What exactly is a concussion, and when should I be worried about one?
The term that we increasingly use in the medical field (and is recommended by the CDC) is the term “mild traumatic brain injury” or mTBI. Both the long and short-form version sounds like the top emo band on iTunes, but in this case, the sadness is legitimate.
Recently, a very extensive guideline came out to help us help you when your child suffers one of these unfortunate events.
The New Guidelines for Child Head Injury
- CT scans (or what we used to call “CAT scans”) are not recommended for mild TBI. There are scoring systems that providers can use to see if your child’s symptoms are more concerning, and therefore warrant imaging. But in most cases, this won’t be needed.
- There are specific recommendations for your child’s return to both cognitive and physical activity. Specifically, the first two to three days after the injury are fairly restrictive, followed by a more gradual return to activity/play that does not exacerbate symptoms.
- Know that long-term activity integration usually can’t be predicted at the initial visit, as it’s a dynamic process. Primary care doctors along with neurologists (and sometimes even school-based teams when available) are essential in directing the appropriate pace of re-integration of activities. Notice that YouTube isn’t included in that team.
- Sleep is so important in the recovery process. Keep a regular bedtime routine, and minimize distractions in the evening. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday. Good “sleep hygiene” is essential in helping a child recover from mild TBI.
More Serious Symptoms of Child Head Injury
What are symptoms of a brain injury that are more concerning, and may prompt you to go the ER or be seen more urgently? If your child is vomiting, has any loss of consciousness or change in consciousness, severe headache, or bump on the head, he should be evaluated promptly.
If none of these things are present, and the child is behaving normally, you may still want to consult with a medical provider to plan next steps. Schedule a video visit or house call with one of Remedy’s board-certified providers, and we will help you walk through a plan.