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What should I do if I have a concussion?

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Concussions are essentially blows to the head that can occur in sports and in daily life. The major causes of concussions outside of the playing field are car accidents, falls, and cases of assault.

The American Academy of Neurology Grades concussions on the following scale:

American Academy of Neurology Grading Scale

•Grade 1 (mild) Transient confusion No loss of consciousness Symptoms and status abnormalities resolve in less than 15 minutes

•Grade 2 (moderate) Transient confusion No loss of consciousness Symptoms and status abnormalities last greater than 15 minutes

•Grade 3 (severe) Any loss of consciousness

If you think you may have a concussion, avoid sleeping for a few hours after the trauma has occurred. If you are asleep, you or a family member may not be able to monitor worsening symptoms. If you experience extreme sleepiness, it may be a sign of a more significant problem, and you should contact a physician or visit the emergency department. Once you have fallen asleep, ask someone to check on you hourly for the first 24 hours.

Some common and immediate symptoms include dizziness, headaches, nausea or vomiting, memory loss on events before or after the trauma, and an unresponsive state. The days and weeks following the impact can cause an individual to have chronic headaches, fatigue, emotional or personality changes, trouble sleeping, depression and an inability to concentrate.

If you suspect you have a Grade 3 or, in some cases, a Grade 2 concussion, you should arrange to be transported to the emergency room for diagnostic testing.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with a neurologist at East Jefferson General Hospital, please call HealthFinder at 504-456-5000 or visit www.ejgh.org. If you think you are suffering from a moderate or severe concussion and need immediate medical assistance, call 911.

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