Summer is upon us.
And the warmer weather brings with it the possibility of fun activities for you and your family to enjoy – cycling, kayaking, ATVing, roller blading.
But these activities also come with inherent risks – cuts, scrapes, broken bones, and even mild traumatic brain injuries, often labeled as concussions.
Did you know that wearing a bike helmet can reduce your risk of a concussion by 88%1
There are ways that you can protect yourself and/or your kids. Visit Parachute Canada’s website to learn more about concussion prevention.
Recognizing the Symptoms
Eva: Familiarize yourself with concussion symptoms before you need to know the information, that way you will more easily identify a potential mild brain injury:
- Constant headaches
- Difficulty concentrating and sustaining attention
- Problems with memory, forgetfulness
- Dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and balance problems
- Feeling like your brain/head is “foggy”
- Increased sensitivity to light and sounds
- Irritability, mood swings, anxiety, and depression
- Change in sleeping patterns; lack of, or too much sleep
- Tinnitus, or ringing in ears
These symptoms can disrupt your day-to-day life, making even the simplest of tasks of challenging.
If you, a friend, or family member is experiencing any of these symptoms, consult a medical professional immediately.
Donna: The first 24 to 48 hours are the most critical. Make sure that you have let someone know you have, or think you have, sustained a concussion, and ask them to keep an eye out for warning signs.
If you, or a friend, notice any of these warnings signs, seek immediate medical attention:
- Severe or worsening headache
- Slurred speech
- Convulsions or seizures
- Inability to be consoled (for children)
- Unwillingness to nurse or eat (for children).
Eva: Following a mild brain injury, or concussion, it’s important that you take the time to allow your brain and your body to recover fully. This means: taking time off school or work if you have difficulty focusing, abstaining from alcohol or other drugs, getting lots of sleep, avoiding triggers like bright lights or loud noises, and/or taking a break from driving or operating machinery until you feel completely yourself (or are cleared by a medical professional).
Donna: I would also advise someone who has sustained a concussion to avoid sports and other physical activities until feeling 100% better. The Ontario Neutrotrauma Foundation has a great rule of thumb ‘When in doubt, sit it out.’
Post-concussion recovery can be a gradual process. It is important to be patient, listen to your body, and maintain contact with a healthcare professional in order to ensure the best possible recovery.
For more information about mild brain injuries and concussions, please contact Modern OT, or consult the following resources.
- Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation
- Ontario Brain Injury Association
- Parachute Canada
- The Brain Injury Association of the Ottawa Valley