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Motor Vehicle Crash: Care Instructions


You were seen by a doctor after a motor vehicle crash. Because of the crash, you may be sore for several days. Over the next few days, you may hurt more than you did just after the crash.

The doctor has checked you carefully, but problems can develop later. If you notice any problems or new symptoms, get medical treatment right away.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Keep track of any new symptoms or changes in your symptoms.
  • Take it easy for the next few days, or longer if you are not feeling well. Do not try to do too much.
  • Put ice or a cold pack on any sore areas for 10 to 20 minutes at a time to stop swelling. Put a thin cloth between the ice pack and your skin. Do this several times a day for the first 2 days.
  • Take pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • Do not drive after taking a prescription pain medicine.
  • Do not do anything that makes the pain worse.
  • Do not drink any alcohol for 24 hours or until your doctor tells you it is okay.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have pain in your belly and shortness of breath.
  • You have tingling, weakness, or numbness in any part of your body.
  • Your symptoms get worse or you have new symptoms, such as belly pain, shortness of breath, vomiting, or a headache.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • You are not getting better as expected.

Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.