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Been in a car accident? Watch for signs of brain injury.

Summer means more time in the car for Floridians and the thousands of tourists who flock to join them. Unfortunately, car accidents also spike in summer, and injury rates go right up with them. Some injuries are obvious, but others are more difficult to detect. Traumatic brain injuries in particular can have long-lasting harmful effects if not treated quickly. If you’re ever involved in a car accident, knowing what traumatic brain injuries are and how to look for them could make all the difference.

What Is A Traumatic Brain Injury?

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) occur when your head encounters blunt force that causes your brain to collide with the inner part of your skull, damaging the neural tissue. Sometimes the damage is mild and causes no symptoms at all. Other times that damage can be severe and immediate. Because the brain has such vast control over your body’s various systems, symptoms can manifest in practically every one of them. Long-term effects of untreated TBI include:

  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Confusion
  • Memory problems
  • Inability to concentrate on tasks
  • Slower mental processing
  • Speech problems
  • Sensory issues
  • Pain
  • Aggression/irritability
  • Fatigue

Severe Headaches

Severe headaches are by far the most common symptom that most TBI sufferers report, which can manifest days or even weeks after the accident itself. A common myth is that a person has to lose consciousness to suffer a TBI, but that isn’t true. Even if you walk away from an accident shaken but coherent, you may still have a TBI. Headaches could point to this.

Nausea Or Vomiting

People with TBIs frequently report feeling sick to their stomach or an inability to keep food down.

Sleep Difficulties

Because of the neurological chaos that follows a brain injury, people often have trouble sleeping after sustaining one. This may include long periods of wakefulness while tired, or simply poor-quality sleep cycles.

Conversely, other people with TBIs will sleep for much longer than normal. The impact on sleep is unpredictable, but any changes from baseline should be noted.

Dizziness

Balance problems are common in TBI cases. While it may seem insignificant, these symptoms can worsen over time if not treated properly.

Sudden Mood Changes

Despite no obvious physical injury signs, mood swings or other pronounced shifts in how you’re feeling could indicate that you have a TBI.

Fatigue Or Weakness

Brain injuries are often enervating, and people who’ve suffered them sometimes report fatigue or generalized weakness.

The symptoms above represent only a small fraction of the ways TBI can manifest, and only a physician will be able to give a firm diagnosis. However, the key point is that seemingly innocuous symptoms can mask more severe conditions. If you keep that in mind, you could reap huge dividends in the future.

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