Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Should I see a doctor for my head "injury"?"
I was sleeping on the bus, sitting up, when I hit the right side of my head on its side while it was rocking (because it didn't move very stably). It's been more than 3 hours since I hit my head, I have not felt any symptoms, I did not lose consciousness for even a second, but I'm not sure if I should see a doctor. Also, if it is a case of Traumatic Brain Injury, am I at risk of dying when I fall asleep?
Thank you for your question. It is very common for patients to ask whether or not they need to see their doctor after any head trauma. In general, the short answer is that yes, patients should speak with their doctor if they are concerned after head trauma. A longer answer is that doctors will often look for certain factors that increase their level of concern following head trauma. For example, those who are on blood thinners such as aspirin or coumadin have a much higher risk of having a bleed inside of their skull, sometimes known as an intracranial bleed. In situations where a person on a blood thinner has a trauma, doctors are much more likely to aggressively look into whether or not the person is bleeding, and may be more likely to order further testing such as a CT scan. Other signs of injury or damage that doctors will consider include whether or not there are external signs of injury, such as a laceration or bleeding. Additionally, a loss of consciousness would be more concerning and may require imaging. Finally, any changes in the function of the nerves of the body, especially the cranial nerves, is an emergency. Please speak with your doctor about this question.
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