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First aid: Dealing with a Head Injury

Head injuries are serious because they can lead to brain damage. They may result in concussion, internal bleeding, skull fracture or spinal injuries. Here’s what you need to do:

1. Sit the person down and place something cold against the injury, such as a bag of ice or frozen peas wrapped in a towel or cloth.

2. Apply pressure to any scalp wounds as if they were bleeding.

3. Check the person’s responsiveness using the AVPU scale below:

Alert – Are their eyes open? Do they respond to questions?

Voice – Do they answer simple questions and follow basic instructions?

Pain – If they’re not alert and not responding to your voice, do they respond to pain when you pinch them? Or when you shake them gently?

Unresponsive – If there is no response at all, then you must assume the person is unresponsive or unconscious.

If they are alert, the injury is probably a mild one. Stay with them until they recover completely.

If they’re neither alert nor responsive, the injury could be severe. Call 999 and explain the situation. Continue to monitor the person and if they lose consciousness, open their airway, check their breathing, and prepare to give them CPR until help arrives.

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