Head Injury - When To See A Doctor

Nuriyah Gallow

Did your child fall off the jungle gym and bump his head? Fall off the bed? Or maybe he fell out of his cot and knocked the side of his head against something hard. Having kids is tough work. They run, jump, play and get hurt often. My mother always told me to rather be safe than sorry when it comes to taking the kids to a doctor when they hurt themselves. However, this exercise can prove to be rather costly.

If you are a pedantasaurus (pedantic parent) like me, you will find yourself rushing to the ER for anything that is mildly concerning. I had an experience recently where my 5 month old fell on her head and was hysterical. After rushing her to the ER on a Sunday, it turned out she was going to be just fine. But how would I have known if it was serious enough for the ER or not? The first thing I thought was "brain injury" even before she was assessed. 

This prompted me to cover this topic in our next info series and include valuable information and what to look out for next time in hopes that it can help the next mamma when she feels like she doesn't know what to do. Sometimes just Googling isn't enough. 

This week I teamed up with the amazing Dr. Imraan Shaikh who has a practice in Parklands, Cape Town. I asked him to give us some key pointers in what to look out for when your child has a possible head injury and when you should be concerned.

Dr. Shaikh noted the following as warning signs and pointers:

  • Seizures - this is a HUGE red flag. Get the child to the emergency room ASAP if this occurs. 
  • Baby/child crying constantly and unable to be consoled.
  • Loss of consciousness after the fall, however brief. 
  • Change in eating habits of the child. 
  • Loss of balance if the child is in the walking phase, where previously they could walk perfectly well.
  • Vomiting, especially after the fall. This could indicate increase in pressure within the brain.
  • Bruises on the head should be assessed. 
  • Any clear fluids leaking from the ears and nose should be brought to the attention of the medical practitioner.
  • The child wanting to sleep is a grey area. It's best to get the child assessed before allowing them to sleep for prolonged periods of time.

Of course if there are none of these signs and you still feel you should take your child in, do so. Always trust your parental instinct and don't let anyone tell you that you are over reacting. After all, your kids are precious little beings and it's always best to be safe than sorry. 

You can find Dr. Shaikh at The Doc in Parklands. 

Follow him on Instagram for more insightful medical posts: @drimraainshaikh


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