Concussion - JASE Medical

Does Your Child Play Sports? Know the Signs of a Concussion

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury—or TBI—caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging brain cells.

Most symptoms resolve in a few days, but sometimes symptoms can persist for weeks or even longer. Common symptoms after a concussive traumatic brain injury are headache, loss of memory (amnesia), and confusion.  

The most common cause of concussions in children is sports-related activities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sports and recreational activities account for over 70% of all traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) among children and adolescents. This includes activities such as football, soccer, basketball, baseball, hockey, skateboarding, and bicycling. Other causes of concussions in children include falls, motor vehicle accidents, and physical abuse.

Sports Related Concussions – most common cause of concussions in youth

The American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) published a clinical report titled, “Sports Related Concussion in Children Adolescents” where they outline definition, symptoms and treatment protocols currently being developed for sports related concussions.

Highlights of this paper include:

  • Sports-related concussions (SRC) are a major concern. A recent study that evaluated 3 national injury databases estimated that 1.1 million to 1.9 million recreational concussions and SRCs occur annually in the United States in children 18 years of age or younger.
  • SRC may be caused by a direct blow to the head, face, neck, or elsewhere on the body with an impulsive force transmitted to the head.
  • SRC typically results in the rapid onset of short-lived impairment of neurologic function that resolves spontaneously. However, in some cases, signs and symptoms may evolve over a number of minutes to hours.
  • SRC may result in neuropathologic changes, but the acute clinical signs and symptoms largely reflect a functional disturbance rather than a structural injury, and as such, no abnormality is seen on standard neuroimaging studies.
  • SRC results in a range of clinical signs and symptoms that may or may not involve loss of consciousness.
  • The clinical signs and symptoms cannot be explained by drug, alcohol, or medication use; other injuries (such as cervical injuries, peripheral vestibular dysfunction, etc); or other comorbidities (eg, psychological factors or coexisting medical conditions).

When a concussion is suspected:

If the concussion is suspected while playing sports, you should:

  • Remove the child from play
  • Keep the child out of play the day of the injury and until a medical provider
  • Children or teens who return to play too soon—while the brain is still healing—risk a greater chance of having a repeat concussion. Repeat or later concussions can be very serious. They can cause permanent brain damage, affecting your child for a lifetime.

Symptoms of concussion may not be obvious. It may take a day or 2 for symptoms to appear.

Most concussions resolve completely; however in some instances symptoms can last for 2 or more weeks. Seek immediate medical attention if:

  • If unconscious for any amount of time following blow to head, even if there are no signs of concussion, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
  • Headache is worse or does not go away.
  • Slurred speech, weakness, numbness, or decreased coordination
  • Significant nausea or repeated vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Inability to wake up
  • Symptoms have worsened at any time
  • Symptoms have not gone away after 10-14 days
  • History of multiple concussions

Post concussion syndrome

Approximately 90% of concussion symptoms are temporary, with symptoms resolving within 10 to 14 days, but may linger for weeks. Post concussion syndrome occurs when symptoms persist past 3 months. Fifteen percent of concussion patients will suffer from post-concussion syndrome. There is no specific treatment for post-concussion syndrome, however symptoms can be managed by medication, stress reduction, avoiding alcohol, and staying on a sleep schedule.

Even though symptoms may last for an extended time, most experience complete healing and are symptom free.

Management of Concussion

Training for sports-related injuries for staff and support personnel should be mandatory. There are some instances where you may not be able to access medical attention for an extended period. Being prepared for any emergency is prudent. Know what to do if there isn’t immediate access to clinic or hospital services.

One book that can help you navigate the unexpected is “The Preppers Medical Handbook” by William Forgey.  This book is a valuable addition to any prepared minded individual.

One important takeaway from the book: when a head injury occurs (concussion or other injury), suspect a neck injury, and treat it as if one has been sustained. This includes careful immobilization of neck and applying a cervical collar (which should be in your first aid kit). Best practice is to learn and practice this skill from a medically trained professional or take a course in basic first aid.

If no loss of consciousness:

  • Have the child rest, which means avoiding physical activities such as sports, strenuous work, etc.
  • Limit activities that require mental concentration-video games, schoolwork, reading, computer use or texting.
  • Monitor child for any changes in concentration, headaches, focus, or other changes in behavior.
  • Child may need to be on a modified or half day schedule while healing. Discuss this with their primary care provider. The stimulation from school and activities can overwhelm someone with a concussion.
  • Child will need a return to activities clearance before returning to sports.

 

Prevention

  • All players need to be fitted with protective sports equipment- helmets, mouth guards, etc.
  • Maintain and check protective sports equipment periodically. Discard and replace worn or old equipment.
  • Mandatory, periodic training on head injuries and concussion management to sports coaches, parents and those involved with sports activities on signs of a concussion and what to do if a concussion is suspected.
  • Limit contact during practice when appropriate.
  • Post signs and symptoms of a concussion and what to do if a concussion is suspected in public areas around the field of play and inside locker rooms.
  •  

- Brooke Lounsbury, RN

Medical Content Writer

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Maintain or Attain a Healthy Weight

When you maintain a healthy weight, your overall health and ability to care for the sick and injured is enhanced. Preparedness isn’t just first aid and readiness during adverse weather events and home safety. 

According to the CDC:

  • The US obesity prevalence was 41.9% in 2017 – March 2020. (NHANES, 2021)
  • From 1999 –2000 through 2017 –March 2020, US obesity prevalence increased from 30.5% to 41.9%. During the same time, the prevalence of severe obesity increased from 4.7% to 9.2%. (NHANES, 2021)
  • Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. These are among the leading causes of preventable, premature death.
  • The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the United States was nearly $173 billion in 2019 dollars. Medical costs for adults who had obesity were $1,861 higher than medical costs for people with healthy weight.

It is my belief that post covid the above rate of obesity will reveal a much higher rate.

Diseases linked to obesity:

  • Diabetes
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Sleep apnea
  • Premature death
  • Certain types of cancer (breast, colon, prostate, and esophageal cancers)

Obesity, and even being overweight puts a severe strain on the body. Plantar fasciitis, excess wear on hip and knee joints, low back pain and even sleep apnea can be a result of excess adipose tissue. 

A vicious cycle can set up in the body, where the hormones ghrelin and leptin are out of balance.

At least that is what happens in an ideal world.

Ghrelin is called the hunger hormone and is secreted by the stomach when the stomach is empty. It regulates:

  • Blood glucose levels through reduced insulin secretion and regulates the synthesis and breakdown of glucose and glycogen.
  • It reduces heat production to conserve energy.
  • It reduces sympathetic activity.
  • It plays a role in regulating bone growth 
  • It is also highly expressed in metastatic cancer cells

Leptin is called an appetite suppressant hormone and is secreted by adipose tissue and balances the ghrelin hunger hormone. Leptin regulates:

  • Satiety
  • Metabolism- energy regulation
  • Immune function
  • Stable mood
  • Mental sharpness

Leptin deficiency can lead to:

  • Recurrent bacterial infections
  • Severe obesity
  • A condition called leptin resistance

What is leptin resistance?

During a normal feedback loop:

High levels of leptin signal your body that there are adequate stores of fat so you eat less and burn more fat. When leptin levels are low, this signals your body (brain)that you need to eat more and hold on to fat reserves in the body.

Leptin resistance happens when leptin which is stored in fat cells isn’t acknowledged by the brain. This results in increased appetite and slower metabolism.

There are many reasons believed for leptin resistance. Genetics, poor sleep habits, processed food, insulin resistance and lack of exercise are believed to contribute to this.

There are no easy solutions.

Anyone who has struggled with weight has already heard the following-

  • Eat more vegetables,
  • Increase activity
  • Avoid processed foods
  • Stabilize blood sugar
  • Etc. etc. etc.

However. There is much more physiology and psychology involved to this than previously thought. If it was that easy, we would all be able to easily lose weight. Emotional eating, when bored, snacking between meals and lack of meal planning can contribute to weight gain. 

Solutions

Check with your primary care provider before initiating any lifestyle changes

- Brooke Lounsbury

Medical Content Writer

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Other Types of Accidental Poisonings and Exposures

Other Types of Accidental Poisonings and Exposures

Accidental poisonings cover a broad spectrum of populations and exposures. From the toddler ingesting something they found in the yard to medication errors to insect bites, the routes and exposure to toxic are almost endless. Some types of poisonings may not be apparent, and can cause irreparable damage if not caught in time.

As stated in the previous post on household chemical emergencies, poison control center is the fastest way to find out about what to do if you suspect any sort of exposure. Their online tool can help identify if there is a poison emergency and what to do They even have an app you can download for your phone to expedite the process.

According to The National Poison Control Center:

In 2020, the 55 U.S. poison control centers provided telephone guidance for over 2.1 million human poison exposures.

 That’s about: 

  • 6.4 poison exposures/1000 population,
  • 37.9 poison exposures in children younger than 6 years/1000 children,
  • 1 poison exposure reported to U.S. poison control centers every 15 seconds

Adults comprised almost half of all exposures (47%), followed by children younger than 6 (39%), then teens (8%).

Types of exposures

Our previous post on household chemical exposures details what to do if you or your loved one is exposed to common household chemicals. Below are some other types of accidental poisonings:

The most common types of poisonings in children:

  • cosmetics and personal care products
  • cleaning substances and laundry products
  • pain medications, both prescription and over-the-counter (OTC)
  • foreign bodies such as toys and toy parts, coins, and thermometers
  • topical preparations like rash creams
  • vitamins and supplements
  • antihistamines
  • pesticides
  • plants
  • antimicrobials like antibiotics

Most dangerous types of poisonings for children:

  • Medications– Over the counter and prescription medications- Remember, there is no such thing as a child proof container. Store all medications out of the reach of children. Do not store medicine in any container other than its original packaging. 
    • Carbon monoxide poisoning Not all poisons are swallowed; some are inhaled, or breathed in. Carbon monoxide gas is in fact an invisible killer. It has no color or odor. Take it seriously. Make sure there’s a carbon monoxide alarm in every sleeping area of your home.
    • Button batteries (sometimes called disc batteries) can be found in musical greeting cards, remote controls, key fobs, and other small electronic devices. Be especially mindful of the 20 mm lithium coin cell battery. When swallowed by a child, especially one younger than 4 years, it often lodges in the esophagus causing burns within just 2 hours. A hole in the esophagus may develop and the burn can extend into the trachea or aorta. More than 60 children have died from ingesting button batteries.
  • Iron pills  are very dangerous for children to ingest. A child can start throwing up blood or have bloody diarrhea within an hour of ingestion
  • Cleaning products (covered in previous post)
  • Nail glue and primer (used in artificial nails, etc)
  • Hydrocarbons: This is a broad category that includes gasoline, kerosene, lamp oil, motor oil, lighter fluid, furniture polish, and paint thinner.
  • Wild mushrooms: Many types of mushrooms grow in many areas of the country. Some are deadly to eat.
  • Alcohol: When children swallow alcohol, they can have seizures, go into a coma, or even die. This is true no matter where the alcohol comes from. Mouthwash, facial cleaners, and hair tonics can have as much alcohol in them as alcoholic beverages.
  • Drain cleaners and toilet bowl cleaners: These caustics cause devastating burns to the mouth, throat and stomach. Drain cleaners may be strongly alkaline and toilet bowl cleaners may be strong acids. If swallowed, they must be diluted immediately to limit the damage that rapidly occurs.
  • Topical anesthetics: These medicines can cause seizures or a condition called methemoglobinemia which keeps the blood from carrying oxygen to the tissues. Be especially careful with teething gels, hemorrhoid preparations, anti-itch creams, and sunburn relief agents.

The most common types of poison exposures in adults:

  • pain medicines, both prescription and over-the-counter (OTC)
  • sedatives, hypnotics, antipsychotics
  • antidepressants
  • cardiovascular drugs
  • cleaning substances (household)
  • alcohols
  • pesticides
  • bites -ticks, spiders, bees, snakes)
  • anticonvulsants
  • cosmetics and personal care products

What to do if suspected poisoning:

If unconscious, vomiting, seizures, or other signs of distress immediately call 911, then contact via phone, app or online tool the poison control center for guidance. Do not immediately try to induce vomiting until you contact them. Some chemicals are caustic and can cause damage to the esophagus if vomited. 

Action Plan:

On the refrigerator or other conspicuous place:

  • Keep an envelope with a list of medications and allergies for each family member
  • Keep a list of medications and allergies on refrigerator for each family member
  • Post poison control center phone number 1-800-222-1222
  • Post primary care provider name and number
  • Speak with primary care provider about keeping syrup of Ipecac on hand to induce vomiting.

 

- Brooke Lounsbury

Medical Content Writer

Lifesaving Medications

Everyone should be empowered to care for themselves and their loved ones during the unexpected.

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Are You Prepared For Household Chemical Emergencies?

Almost every household has some products that contain hazardous materials or chemicals. Knowing how to handle and store these products and what to do if someone is improperly exposed to them can help reduce injury.

Prevention is key. Before an emergency occurs, make sure to store household chemicals in places where children and pets cannot get to them. Also make sure you have the national poison control number saved in your cell phone or posted common areas or near landlines.

National Poison Control Phone: 1-800-222-1222

Down below is a list of common household chemicals:

  • Aerosol cans – may include cleaning supplies, but also consider hairspray or deodorant as well
  • Nail polish or nail polish remover
  • Cleaning products and furniture polishes
  • Laundry detergent and bleach
  • Automotive products like oil, windshield wiper fluid and antifreeze
  • Flammable products like kerosene, heating oil, propane tanks and lighter fluid
  • Lawn and garden supplies like pesticides, herbicides and insecticides
  • Workshop or painting supplies like paint thinner
  • Common household items like batteries, mercury thermometers, and fluorescent light bulbs

Storage of hazardous or dangerous chemicals is of utmost importance. Again, only store household chemicals in places where children and pets cannot get to them. Make sure they are out of reach and have a lock or child proof fastener to prevent accidental openings.

Other storage pearls to consider:

  • Keep all chemicals in their original containers and never remove the labels. If a container is corroding, it should be repackaged and clearly labeled
  • Never store hazardous chemicals in food containers
  • Make sure to dispose of chemicals correctly and never mix household chemicals. For example, bleach and ammonia may react and ignite or explode.
  • Never use products near an open flame
  • Clean up spills immediately. Allow fumes in rags to evaporate in a well ventilated area or outdoors before properly disposing of them

If there is a chemical spill or emergency in your home, make sure to follow these steps:

  • Get out immediately if there is danger of fire or explosion
  • Stay upwind and away from residences to avoid further exposure and breathing toxic fumes
  • Monitor yourself and others for signs of toxic poisoning, which may include:
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Changes to skin color
    • Headaches or blurry vision
    • Irritation of eyes, skin, throat, or respiratory tract
    • Dizziness, clumsiness or lack of coordination
    • Cramps or diarrhea
  • Call the national poison control phone number if you think someone is experiencing any symptoms.
  • Follow instructions from the emergency dispatcher. Do not give anything by mouth unless advised to do so.

After a chemical emergency, discard all clothing and materials that have been contaminated. Some chemicals do not wash out fully.

 

- Brooke Lounsbury

Medical Content Writer

Lifesaving Medications

Everyone should be empowered to care for themselves and their loved ones during the unexpected.

Recent Posts

Keeping you informed and safe.

Join Our Newsletter

Our mission is to help you be more medically prepared. Join our newsletter and follow us on social media for health and safety tips each week!

Are You Prepared For A Cyber Security Attack?

Cyber security is more important than ever as more and more personal information is available online. 

Cyberattacks are malicious attempts to access information or damage a computer or network system. Cyberattacks can lead to information leaks, money loss or theft of sensitive information. On a larger scale, it can affect organizations, communities and the nation.

Cybersecurity involves preventing, detecting and responding to cyberattacks. Taking a few small steps can make your information more secure and can prevent loss of finances and valuable information.

Here are a list of steps to take to protect yourself and your information:

  • Limit the amount of information you share online and change privacy settings to not use location services.
  • Make sure to update software, applications, and operating systems up to date.
  • Create strong passwords. Use Upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters. 
  • Do not use the same password for multiple accounts.
  • Use a password manager and two methods of verification whenever possible.
  • When in doubt do NOT click on unknown links, especially if they ask for personal information. More than 90% of successful cyber attacks start with a phishing email.
  • Protect your home or business by using a secure internet connection and Wi-Fi network. 
  • Change passwords frequently
  • Don’t share PINs or passwords.
  • Use devices with biometric scans when possible.
  • Check your account summaries and credit reports regularly.
  • If you do have to share personal or financial information online, make sure it is a secure site that begins with https://. Using a virtual private network (VPN) can also provide a secure connection.
  • Use antivirus (ex: Norton), antimalware (ex: Malwarebytes), and firewalls to block threats.
  • Back up your files regularly in encrypted files.
  • The government will NOT call, text, or contact you via social media about owing money.

- Brooke Lounsbury

Medical Content Writer

Lifesaving Medications

Everyone should be empowered to care for themselves and their loved ones during the unexpected.

Recent Posts

Keeping you informed and safe.

Join Our Newsletter

Our mission is to help you be more medically prepared. Join our newsletter and follow us on social media for health and safety tips each week!

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