Head injuries can be very serious. After a blow to the head (caused by either a fall or impact with an object) it is very important to watch the person closely and look for changes in physical condition or behavior. In some cases symptoms will not be evident right away, and can even take several hours to develop. If the person experiences any of these symptoms, seek medical help as soon as possible:
- Loss of consciousness
- Altered mental status (repeating questions, disorientation, memory loss)
- Weakness, dizziness and/or fatigue
- Blood or clear fluid draining from the ears
- Rapid pulse or slow breathing
It is very important not to move a person who may have suffered an injury to the spinal cord if it can be avoided. Moving an injured person can seriously worsen the injury. If you suspect someone has an injury to their spine, keep them as still as possible. Attempt to keep them calm and alert, and contact emergency medical services immediately.
A penetrating chest wound is extremely dangerous and requires immediate medical attention. Keep the person calm and do not attempt to remove any object that might be impaled in the wound. Cover the wound with a dressing that will not allow air to enter the chest cavity (plastic or nylon are good examples). Tape down the dressing on all sides but one - this should allow air to escape (but not enter) the chest cavity.