Almost everyone hits their head on occasion. You might bump your head on a cabinet door while cooking in your kitchen, bonk your head on the ground after falling off your bike, or even get hit in the head with a baseball when playing with your kids. Not every head-hitting event is cause for an alarm, but it's important to know when the situation does call for medical attention. Here are some signs you need to seek medical care after hitting your head.
If you get hit in the head hard enough to cause bleeding, you should seek medical care. First of all, head wounds tend to bleed a lot, so there's a good chance you will need stitches to prevent substantial blood loss and speed healing. Second, if you were hit hard enough to cause a wound, you were probably also hit hard enough to cause a concussion.
Loss of Consciousness
If you black out or feel like you're going to black out — even if just for a second — there is a very good chance you will suffer a concussion as a result of the head trauma. Concussions can be very serious if left untreated, so you absolutely need to seek care. Ask someone to drive you to the hospital or urgent care center. It is never safe to drive after you've experienced a loss of consciousness.
Sometimes people hit their heads and assume they are fine, but an hour or two later, they notice they feel exhausted. You may want to go to bed or simply feel like you barely have enough energy to make it across the room. If this happens to you, absolutely do not go to sleep. This is almost certainly a sign of a concussion, and going to sleep could cause more serious problems to go unnoticed.
Feeling sick to your stomach after hitting your head is another common sign of a concussion. Many people take antacids or other nausea medications when this happens, but you should actually avoid doing so since it may mask your symptoms and make it harder for medical professionals to assess how severely you are hurt.
If you hit your head and notice any of the issues above, your best bet is to head to a local urgent care center. There is usually less of a wait than in an emergency room, and the center can refer you to the hospital, if needed, for further testing.