Improving the lives of those with Traumatic Brain Injuries!
March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, a critical time when you can raise awareness about this important public health problem.
Have you ever hit your head as a result of a fall, a car crash, or other type of activity that left you feeling "just not right" afterwards? After a few days you returned to your normal activities, however, you kept getting a headache, were sensitive to noise, and had more trouble than usual concentrating or remembering things. Does this sound familiar? If so, you may be one of the millions of people who sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year.
This March, in recognition of Brain Injury Awareness Month, CDC and our partners are working together to spread the word and raise awareness about TBI prevention, recognition, and response to help address this important public health problem.
CDC estimates that 1.7 million Americans sustain a TBI, including concussions, each year. Of those individuals, 52,000 die, 275,000 are hospitalized, and 1.4 million are treated and released from an emergency department.
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. This sudden movement can literally cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, damaging brain cells and creating chemical changes in the brain.
Most people with a TBI recover quickly and fully. But for some people, symptoms can last for days, weeks, or longer. And in severe cases, a TBI can lead to coma and even death. In general, recovery may be slower among older adults, young children, and teens. Those who have had a TBI in the past are also at risk of having another one and may find that it takes longer to recover if they have another TBI.
|Thinking/ Remembering||Physical||Emotional/ Mood||Sleep|
|Difficulty thinking clearly||Headache Fuzzy or blurry vision||Irritability||Sleeping more than usual|
|Feeling slowed down||Nausea or vomiting (early on) Dizziness||Sadness||Sleep less than usual|
|Difficulty concentrating||Sensitivity to noise or light Balance problems||More emotional||Trouble falling asleep|
|Difficulty remembering new information||Feeling tired, having no energy||Nervousness or anxiety|
Some of these symptoms may appear right away, while others may not be noticed for days or months after the injury, or until the person starts resuming their everyday life and more demands are placed upon them.
See When to Seek Immediate Medical Attention, to learn about dangers signs to watch for in adults and children.
People with a TBI need to be seen by a health care professional. If you think you or someone you know has a TBI, contact your health care professional. Your health care professional can refer you to a neurologist, neuropsychologist, neurosurgeon, or specialist in rehabilitation (such as a speech pathologist). Getting help soon after the injury by trained specialists may speed recovery.
Rest is very important after a TBI because it helps the brain to heal. Ignoring your symptoms and trying to "tough it out" often makes symptoms worse. Be patient because healing takes time. Only when your symptoms have reduced significantly, in consultation with your health care professional, should you slowly and gradually return to your daily activities, such as work or school. If your symptoms come back or you get new symptoms as you become more active, this is a sign that you are pushing yourself too hard. Stop these activities and take more time to rest and recover. As the days go by, you can expect to gradually feel better.
See Getting Better, for tips to help aid recovery from a TBI.
Several groups help people and their families deal with concussion and more serious TBIs. They provide information and put people in touch with local resources, such as support groups, rehabilitation services, and a variety of health care professionals.