Head Injuries




Minor head injuries are common in people of all ages and should not result in any permanent damage. Minor head injuries often cause a bump or bruise. As long as the person is conscious (awake), with no deep cuts, there is unlikely to have been any damage to the brain.

Other symptoms of a minor head injury may include:

  • nausea (feeling sick)
  • mild headache
  • tender bruising or mild swelling of the scalp
  • mild dizziness


If you or your child experience these mild symptoms after a knock, bump or blow to the head, you do not require any specific treatment.


Advice for adults

If you have a minor head injury:

  • ask someone to stay with you and keep within easy reach of a telephone and medical help for the first 48 hours after the injury
  • have plenty of rest and avoid stressful situations
  • do not drink alcohol
  • do not take sleeping pills, sedatives or tranquilisers (unless they are prescribed by your doctor)
  • do not take aspirin (unless it is prescribed by your doctor)
  • take painkillers, such as paracetamol, if you have a headache (always follow the manufacturer’s instructions)
  • do not play any contact sport, such as football or rugby, for at least three weeks, and speak to your doctor before you start playing again
  • do not return to work, college or school until you have completely recovered and feel ready
  • do not drive a car, motorbike or bicycle or operate machinery until you have completely recovered


Go to a hospital accident and emergency (A&E) department if you:

  • lose consciousness or become confused, for example not knowing where you are
  • have clear fluid leaking from your ear or nose
  • are drowsy (sleepy) when you would usually be awake
  • have problems speaking or understanding other people
  • lose your balance or have difficulty walking
  • lose power in part of the body, for example in an arm or leg
  • develop a new problem with your eyesight
  • have a headache that keeps getting worse
  • have been sick
  • have a seizure (fit), when your body suddenly moves uncontrollably


Advice for children

If your child has a minor head injury:

  • give them painkillers, such as paracetamol, if they have a mild headache (always read the manufacturer’s instructions and never give aspirin to children under 16 years of age)
  • avoid getting them too excited
  • do not have too many visitors
  • do not let them play contact sports, such as football or rugby
  • make sure that they avoid rough play for a few days


Take your child back to the accident and emergency (A&E) department of your local hospital if they:

  • are unusually sleepy or you cannot wake them
  • have a headache that is getting worse
  • are unsteady when they walk
  • are repeatedly sick
  • have a seizure (fit)
  • develop a squint or blurred vision, or they start to see double
  • lose consciousness


Go to A&E if your baby has a minor head injury and continues to cry for a long time.


Adapted from NHS Choices:
Head injury, minor – Treatment – NHS Choices