Symptoms of Concussion in Child: Causes and Treatment

A concussion is mild injury to the brain which is caused due to some type of jolt or blow to the head. Anyone can suffer from concussion; adults as well as children. Your brain is a delicate organ made up of soft tissue. It is encased inside the skull for protection.

The cerebrospinal fluid surrounds the brain and acts as a cushion. Inside the skull, the brain can move slightly. However, if it bangs against the skull wall for reasons such as car accidents, whiplash, fall from a height etc, the nerve cells and blood vessels may get stretched and injured. It may also trigger chemical change inside the brain. Fortunately concussion is not serious and life threatening and its effect do not last long. The effect is temporary and subsides within few days or weeks or months.

Causes of Concussion in Children:

Concussion is a mild injury to the brain. Contrary to our belief children are more prone to concussion. According to CDC data an estimate of almost 1.7 million children as well as adults suffered from concussion in a year.

Most of the cases of concussion in children are related with sports injury. Children are known to overwhelming participate in sports activity in school. Sports such as football, ice hockey has the highest incidence of concussion. This is followed by wrestling, basketball, softball, etc. Besides elderly children, infants and toddlers can also suffer from brain concussion. Sudden jolt to their body is the cause. For example when someone out of affection carries the child and tosses him in the air before catching him again. The impact may be strong to jerk the head suddenly backward and forward or from side to side. The brain may forcefully bang with the skull wall.

Symptoms of Concussion in Children:

The symptoms of concussion in children do not develop suddenly but may take few hours or a day or two after the injury.

Symptoms In Babies:

  • Increased irritability
  • Excessive crying when moved his head
  • Vomiting
  • An obvious bump on the head after the history of fall
  • Interrupted sleep.

Toddlers are able to understand and may be able to complain certain symptoms such as headache. The symptoms in include:

  • Too much crying
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Change in behavior
  • Change in sleep pattern
  • Feeling sluggish
  • Imbalance while walking
  • Sudden change of mood
  • Confused

Signs and Symptoms of Concussion in Older Age Group:

  • Dizziness
  • Double vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Slurred speech
  • Constant vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Trouble while walking
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Change in mood frequently
  • Increased drowsiness
  • Trouble in concentrating
  • Fatigue

Concussion Treatment:

Symptoms of concussion in each child vary and it also differs in severity. Hence the treatment may be individualized. If the concussion is mild, the doctor may suggest just monitoring the child at home for 48 hours. If in case the child gets persisting vomiting and headache or is confused, it suggests there is something serious. Consult your doctor instantly if he exhibits these symptoms. Else treatment at home consists of:

  • Rest: The child needs rest, both physical as well as mental till the symptoms heal completely. He must avoid all sports activities. However, regular daily activities can be performed. As the symptoms alleviate, he can return to his physical activities.
  • Rest to mind: Giving rest to mental activities is also important. The child must avoid brain activities that make the symptoms worse. A child who returns to school after concussion may require some lighter course or short school hours. If reading or writing causes headache or blurriness, he must take a break. In short he must resume this brain work gradually to pre concussion period as the symptoms improve.
  • Child must stay away from brightness and stay away from loud noise.
  • Sometimes if headache is severe the doctor may prescribe medicines to alleviate headache.