The Alan Titchmarsh Show 8th October

On todays show we ran a feature about First Aid in the Home.

With falls being the most common accident in the home, we decided to talk about Head injuries, how to spot the signs of a serious head injury and we also ran through basic first aid tips.

A head injury may cause a wide range of symptoms depending on how serious the injury is. Symptoms of a severe head injury can range from a temporary loss of consciousness up to a brain injury in the most serious cases. It may also cause concussion, fits/seizures, difficulty speaking or staying awake and problems with the senses, such as loss of hearing or double vision. Head injuries are more common in men, children and over 65’s.

Looking on the internet there are not really any simple guides to help people assess a head injury in the home or the work place.

So, I have devised this checklist of what to do if you have had a head injury:

A: Alert

Is the patient behaving normally? Ask which month and year we are in.

B: Balance

Assess balance by asking the patient to walk with one foot in front of the other, heel to toe, as if they are walking on a tight rope.
C: Cuts and bruises

Look at their ears, nose and mouth for blood or clear fluid.

If there is a bleeding wound, I suggest gently cleaning the wound with mild soap and water and apply a sterile flannel over the area with firm pressure until bleeding stops. A wound that doesn’t stop bleeding should be seen by a doctor. If bruising or swelling is present apply something cold (ice pack/bag of peas wrapped in a towel or flannel) directly over area for 10-20 minutes and repeat every 3-4 hours. Do not put Ice directly onto skin.
D: Disability

This is to check to see if there is difficulty seeing normally or a difficulty in moving the arms and legs. Check the power and strength in the patients arms and legs by asking them to bend their arms and push against her and the same with their legs
E: Eyes

Check that the pupils are the same size. If they are unequal it would be a sign of a brain injury. Any blood in the eye or any problems seeing should be a cause for concern. Anita would normally do a vision test by holding up her fingers and asking how many the patient can see.

Once you have done general checks and if everything seems ok the simple head injury advice is;
• Rest
• Paracetamol based painkiller available over the counter
• Continue to Ice and bumps or bruises as needed.
• If they don’t seem to be making a full recovery see a doctor.