Most people with a concussion recover well from symptoms experienced at the time of the injury. But for some people, symptoms can last for days, weeks, or longer. In general, recovery may be slower among older adults, young children, and teens. Those who have had a concussion in the past are also at risk of having another one. Some people may also find that it takes longer to recover if they have another concussion.
Symptoms of a concussion usually fall into four categories:
|Difficulty thinking clearly||Headache
Fuzzy or blurry vision
|Irritability||Sleeping more than usual|
|Feeling slowed down||Nausea or vomiting
|Sadness||Sleep less than usual|
Sensitivity to noise or light
|More emotional||Trouble falling asleep|
|Difficulty remembering new information||Feeling tired, having no energy||Nervousness or anxiety|
Some of these symptoms may appear right away. Others may not be noticed for days or months after the injury, or until the person resumes their everyday life. Sometimes, people do not recognize or admit that they are having problems. Others may not understand their problems and how the symptoms they are experiencing impact their daily activities.
The signs and symptoms of a concussion can be difficult to sort out. Early on, problems may be overlooked by the person with the concussion, family members, or doctors. People may look fine even though they are acting or feeling differently.
See Getting Better, for tips to help aid your recovery after a concussion.
When to Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Danger Signs in Adults
In rare cases, a person with a concussion may form a dangerous blood clot that crowds the brain against the skull. Contact your health care professional or emergency department right away if you experience these danger signs after a bump, blow, or jolt to your head or body:
- Headache that gets worse and does not go away.
- Weakness, numbness or decreased coordination.
- Repeated vomiting or nausea.
- Slurred speech.
The people checking on you should take you to an emergency department right away if you:
- Look very drowsy or cannot wake up.
- Have one pupil (the black part in the middle of the eye) larger than the other.
- Have convulsions or seizures.
- Cannot recognize people or places.
- Are getting more and more confused, restless, or agitated.
- Have unusual behavior.
- Lose consciousness.
Danger Signs in Children
Take your child to the emergency department right away if they received a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body, and:
- Have any of the danger signs for adults listed above.
- Will not stop crying and are inconsolable.
- Will not nurse or eat.