A person with a suspected brain injury should call 911, go to the emergency room, or contact a physician immediately. After an impact or injury to the head, an individual can experience a variety of symptoms. Common symptoms of a brain injury include:

  • Spinal fluid (thin, clear liquid) coming out of the ears or nose
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Dilated (the black center of the eye is large and does not get smaller in light) or unequal size of pupils
  • Vision changes (blurred vision or seeing double, not able to tolerate bright light, loss of eye movement, blindness)
  • Dizziness
  • Balance problems
  • Respiratory failure (difficulty breathing)
  • Coma (not alert and unable to respond to others) or semi-comatose state
  • Paralysis, or difficulty moving body parts
  • Weakness
  • Poor coordination
  • Slow pulse
  • Slow breathing rate, with an increase in blood pressure
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus), or changes in ability to hear
  • Difficulty with thinking skills (difficulty “thinking straight”, memory problems, poor judgment, poor attention span, a slowed thought processing speed)
  • Inappropriate emotional responses (irritability, easily frustrated, inappropriate crying or laughing)
  • Difficulty speaking (slurred speech, difficulty swallowing)
  • Body numbness or tingling
  • Loss of bowel control or bladder control

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