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Head Injury: Care Instructions


Most injuries to the head are minor. Bumps, cuts, and scrapes on the head and face usually heal well and can be treated the same as injuries to other parts of the body.

Although it's rare, once in a while a more serious problem shows up after you are home. So it's good to be on the lookout for symptoms for a day or two.

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?

  • Follow your doctor's instructions. The doctor will tell you if you need someone to watch you closely for the next 24 hours or longer.
  • Take it easy for the next few days or more if you are not feeling well.
  • Ask your doctor when it's okay for you to go back to activities like driving a car, riding a bike, or operating machinery.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You have a seizure.
  • You passed out (lost consciousness).
  • You are confused or can't stay awake.
  • You have a headache that gets worse and does not go away.
  • You have new vision changes or one pupil (the black part in the middle of the eye) that is larger than the other.
  • You have slurred speech, balance problems, or decreased coordination.

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

  • You have new or worse vomiting.
  • You feel less alert.
  • You have new weakness or numbness in any part of your body.
  • You have new symptoms, such as unclear thinking or changes in mood.

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

  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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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.