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Health And Beauty: Head injuries

All head injuries are potentially serious and require medical attention.

What are they?
Head injuries may produce concussion - a period of unconsciousness followed by complete recovery.

Other head injuries may produce compression of the brain, which is life threatening. A head wound can indicate deeper damage, such as a skull fracture.

Skull fracture

Wound or bruise to head
Soft area on scalp
Impaired consciousness
Leakage of clear fluid from nose/ear


Call 999
Control any bleeding from the head
If there is discharge from an ear, cover ear with a sterile dressing but don't plug it

Cerebral compression

Heavy, slow breathing
Asymmetrical pupils
High temperature, flushed face


Call 999
If the casualty is conscious, support them in a comfortable position


Loss of consciousness
Dizziness/nausea on recovery
Loss of memory
Pale face

Sit casualty down quietly
Treat bruise or wound with cold compress
Watch casualty and if they do not return to normal within a few minutes, seek medical advice

Eye injury

What is it?
Foreign bodies (such as eyelashes) in the white of the eye can cause discomfort until they're removed.

Eye injuries are caused by objects embedded in the eye (such as grit or pieces of debris from an explosion). Only a health professional should attempt to remove anything embedded or resting on the coloured part of the eye.

Redness and watering of eye
Eyelids closing
Blurred vision

First aid aims
Prevent any further injury to the eye

Sit casualty in a good light
Advise casualty not to rub or touch the eye
Separate eyelids carefully and examine the eye
If there's a free-floating object clearly visible in the white of the eye, try to remove it
Use clean water to wash it out or the corner of a clean handkerchief

Further action
If it's not possible to remove the object, arrange for the casualty to attend hospital.

Fractures to pelvis
Pelvic fractures are potentially serious because the pelvic bones protect vital organs. Casualties with pelvic fractures should be immobilised.

Casualty may be unable to stand
Pain in hip or back region increases with movement
Signs of shock
Possible internal bleeding

First aid aims
Get emergency help
Make casualty comfortable until help arrives

Lie casualty on their back with legs in position that's most comfortable
Immobilise legs by bandaging them together
Call 999

Further action
Treat the casualty for shock, if necessary.
Strains and sprains

Strains and sprains are often the result of taking part in sport.
Strains are injuries to the muscles moving the bones (usually sustained by overstretching). Sprains are injuries to the joints.

Sharp pain and tenderness
Swelling and distortion of limb
Signs of bruising
Difficulty moving injured part of body

First aid aims
Reduce pain and swelling
Get medical help, if necessary

RICE procedure:

R - rest and support affected limb
I - apply ice or a cold compress to reduce swelling
C - compress by applying gentle, even pressure on the limb and pad it with foam or cotton wool, secured with a bandage
E - elevate limb to reduce blood flow to affected area

This treatment may be sufficient to relieve the symptoms, but if you're in doubt about the severity of the injury treat it as a fracture and seek medical advice.

Further action
If the injury seems serious, get medical help.

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