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Leaflet: Head Injury Advice for Adults


Following your attendance, we are satisfied that your injury is not serious. We are happy for you to be discharged. However, after a head injury it is common to notice some of the following symptoms:

Do expect to feel generally miserable and “off colour”.

These feelings may include feeling sick (without vomiting), dizziness, irritability or bad temper, problems concentrating, problems sleeping or lack of appetite.

Do expect to be more tired than usual. Do not be confused between normal sleep and unconsciousness – someone who is unconscious cannot be woken up.

Do expect to have a mild headache. Paracetamol will suffice for this.

These symptoms should improve rapidly.

If you are concerned about any of these symptoms in the first few days, you should go to your doctor.

If these problems do not go away after 2 weeks, you should see your doctor.

You are advised to stay with a friend/partner/relative for 24 hours.

Things that will help you get better:

Do have plenty of rest and avoid stressful situations.

Do not take sleeping pills, sedatives or tranquilisers unless a doctor prescribes them for you.

Do not play any contact sport (for example, football) for at least 3 weeks without talking to your doctor first.

Do not return to school/college or work until you feel you have completely recovered.

Do not stay alone in the home for the first 24-48 hours after leaving hospital.

Do make sure that there is a nearby telephone and that you are within easy reach of medical help.

Do not drive a car, motorbike, bicycle or operate machinery unless you feel that you have completely recovered.

Even after an apparently minor head injury, complications may occur, but these are rare.

Pain relief medication

Pain relief medication can help you to reduce the pain allowing you to undertake any suggested exercises and movements of the injury. Moving will help ease the pain and speed up your recovery significantly. Simple pain relief medications such as Paracetamol and Ibuprofen are often all that is required. Please read the medication instructions before taking anything.

Pain relief medication

• Unconsciousness, continuing drowsiness for more than1 hour or difficulty in waking from sleep

• Any confusion (not understanding what is said, not knowing where you are etc.)

• Any vomiting

• Painful headache that will not go away or trouble with your eyesight

• Any loss of balance or problems walking

• Any problem speaking

• Any kind of attack, which you think is a fit

• Any weakness in one or both arms or legs

• Clear fluid coming out of your ears or nose

• Bleeding from one or both ears

• New deafness in one or both ears

Call 111 if you urgently need medical help or advice but it’s not a life-threatening situation.

For less urgent health needs, contact your GP or local pharmacist in the usual way

Visit the Minor Injuries Unit webpage for more information about this service.

Date of creation: April 2019
Date of review: April 2021
URN: 108