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3 red flags that you have a brain injury after a crash

As a victim of a crash, you may feel stunned. You might be dazed or slightly confused about what just happened to you. The scene of a crash can be frightening and bustling with activity as people check on the victims, call 911 and have emergency teams arrive.

As someone who has been involved in a collision, your job is to make sure you take care of yourself first. Part of doing that is to take a self-assessment to see if you have been injured.

One of the most common injuries in a crash is a brain injury. Unfortunately, not all brain injuries are apparent right away. The important thing to remember is that there are some symptoms you can look for. If you have them, you know that you need to seek medical care. Even if you don't, it's still a good idea to head to the hospital.

What are the three red flags that show a brain injury may be present?

While all brain injuries present differently, there are a few signs that show up for most people. These include:

  • Headaches
  • Loss of memory or consciousness (blacking out, forgetting how you got where you are)
  • Feeling dazed, confused or disoriented

Immediately following a car crash, it's normal to take a few moments to assess your situation. However, if you hit your head, have a bad headache, can't remember what just happened or blacked out, then it's important to seek medical care right away.

Feeling dazed or confused is another major sign that something isn't right. Fortunately, that symptoms is also one that others should notice at the scene. Mixing up your name, forgetting your phone number or who you can call as an emergency contact, struggling to walk straight and other unusual actions all signal that a brain injury may have occurred.

Why don't all brain injuries present right away?

Some brain injuries are what medical providers call "delayed onset injuries." These take time to develop as swelling or bleeding builds up in the skull. If you have symptoms that are getting worse over time or pain that is increasing, make sure the emergency team knows or that you seek care if you've already left the scene.

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