Recognize concussion symptoms

Concussions can result from many types of occupational accidents. From an employee falling and hitting his or her head on the ground to not wearing hard hats in a construction zone, a head injury may cause a concussion. According to the Mayo Clinic, a concussion is “a traumatic brain injury that alters the way your brain functions.” Although the symptoms may be temporary, if the damage goes untreated, the worker may experience long-term health effects.

It can be difficult for people to recognize when they or another individual has experienced a concussion. According to the Mayo Clinic, people don’t need to lose consciousness after a blow to the head for a concussion to occur.

“One myth about concussions is that you have to be ‘knocked out’,” Dr. Aaron Karlin, director of Ochsner Health System’s Concussion Management Program, said during a recent study on sports-induced concussions by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “This is absolutely false. In fact, less than 20 percent of individuals who incur a concussion have associated loss of consciousness.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of a concussion include: pressure in the head, confusion, dizziness or balance issues, nausea, slurred speech and trouble hearing. There are certain symptoms that may not appear immediately following the event, such as memory impairment, sensitivity to light and noise and difficulty sleeping.

Both the Mayo Clinic and Karlin suggest the person see a physician if he or she sustains a hit on the head and loses consciousness for more than a minute, symptoms increase or he or she experiences a seizure. Employers may want to encourage the worker to speak to a physician just in case. If a concussion has occurred and time is lost due to the injury or the worker loses consciousness, employers will need to record it and report the incident to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

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