A concussion means your brain has temporarily been shaken. This is the result of a hard blow, bump or fall on your head. You usually won’t be left with any permanent damage. The severity of the concussion will differ per accident. For example, you may have a mild concussion, during which you have not lost consciousness and you’ve lost your memory for no more than 10 minutes. A mild concussion can mean you’ve lost consciousness for a few minutes and you can lose your memory for up to 24 hours. If you’re unconscious for a longer period of time, you may have a brain contusion and/or have a small haemorrhage in your brain. Serious bleeding can occur as a result of a skull fracture in 1% of accidents. It’s important to keep a close eye on your symptoms for the first 24 hours with any concussion. Even though a concussion may seem harmless, the risk of serious complications will be greatest during that time.
If you have a concussion, you may experience:
- Loss of consciousness.
- A severe headache.
- Dull, blurred vision.
- Sensitivity to light and sounds.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Hearing problems and/or ringing in the ears.
- Fear of recurrence of the accident.
We recommend you take the following advice in the first few days following a concussion:
- Get plenty of rest. You will suffer from headaches for the first few days. It will then be logical to want to spend time in bed. However, it will still be good to get out of bed every now and then and gradually reduce the time you spend in bed. This will promote your recovery.
- Don’t drink alcohol or caffeine. It’s best if you drink 1.5 to 2 litres of water or tea per day.
- Limit the time you spend looking at a screen. We recommend not watching TV or using a computer at all for the first few days. Your brain won’t yet be able to effectively handle the processing of those stimuli.
- Take a paracetamol for the headache. Carefully read the package leaflet before use.
- Don’t drive a car or ride a bicycle if you’re still suffering from drowsiness or severe headaches.
It’s good to resume your normal daily rhythm as much as possible after a few days of rest. Do this within your own limits or capabilities. For example, we recommend that you:
- Only start work again when the severe headaches, fatigue and nausea have subsided.
- Indicate your limits at work or school. Can’t concentrate well? Then take more rest breaks or agree that you’ll work half days.
- Don’t exercise too excessively. Only do this when your symptoms have disappeared.
- Maintain a good day and night rhythm. Don’t stay in bed for too long and get up on time.
- Don’t avoid activities which caused the accident. Do you find yourself doing this? Then contact your GP. He or she can refer you to the right help for your anxiety symptoms.
You should contact your GP if:
- Your child has fallen hard on the head or received a hard blow to the head. This is especially important for young children, because their skull is not yet completely closed.
- You’re concussed and worried.
- You lost consciousness.
- You have a severe headache.
- You are confused, drowsy or behaving differently.
- You keep vomiting.
- You are becoming more unwell. Your symptoms have worsened or different symptoms start developing.
- You’re suffering from severe anxiety or avoidance behaviour as a result of the accident.
- You’re unsure about your symptoms during the first 24 hours after the accident.