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How to Treat a Concussion

While the majority of patients suffering concussions can get through it with minor treatment, some cases are serious and need immediate attention. You can learn how to treat a concussion and avoid potentially serious injury later on.


  • Step 1: Identify symptoms Identify the symptoms of a concussion. A concussion is any disturbance in brain function and is almost always caused by trauma or injury that causes the brain to be knocked around inside the skull. The most common symptoms are confusion and amnesia.
  • TIP: Symptoms also include loss of consciousness, slurred speech, light-headedness, blurred vision, ringing ears, balance or coordination problems, and nausea.
  • Step 2: Seek medical attention Seek immediate medical attention if symptoms are severe, such as unconsciousness, severe or worsening headaches, or persistent vomiting. Someone who is experiencing such symptoms should go to an emergency room for a CT scan.
  • Step 3: Administer acetaminophen Administer acetaminophen to ease head pain, but avoid aspirin, ibuprofin, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which may increase the risk of bleeding.
  • Step 4: Avoid sports or other vigorous activity Avoid sports if you're an athlete, and refrain from any vigorous activity for as long as symptoms persist. Ask a doctor when it's safe to resume play.
  • TIP: Symptoms may persist for a few days to a few weeks and until they subside, further head trauma can result in permanent damage.
  • Step 5: Look for post-concussive syndrome Look for post-concussive syndrome, the symptoms of which include memory loss, judgment and concentration difficulties, and balance or coordination problems. If such symptoms present, seek a neuropsychological evaluation.
  • Step 6: Rest Stay home, rest, and wait it out. While extreme cases are rare, most symptoms of mild concussions will go away in a matter of days and you'll be able to resume your normal routine.
  • FACT: An estimated 1.1 million people in the United States suffer a concussion each year.

You Will Need

  • Symptoms
  • Medical attention
  • Acetaminophen
  • Neuropsychological evaluation
  • Rest

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