Head Injury

Most head injuries are not serious. You do not usually need to go to hospital and should make a full recovery within 2 weeks.


Call 999 if someone has hit their head and has:

  •   been knocked out and has not woken up
  •   difficulty staying awake or keeping their eyes open
  •   a fit (seizure)
  •   problems with their vision
  •   clear fluid coming from their ears or nose
  •   bleeding from their ears or bruising behind their ears
  •   numbness or weakness in part of their body
  •   problems with walking, balance, understanding, speaking or writing
  •   hit their head in a serious accident, such as a car crash

Also call 999 if you cannot get someone to A&E safely.


See a GP if:

  • your or your child's symptoms last more than 2 weeks
  • you're not sure if it's safe for you to drive or return to work, school or sports

How to treat a minor head injury

If you do not need to go to hospital, you can usually look after yourself or your child at home.

It's normal to have symptoms such as a slight headache, or feeling sick or dazed, for up to 2 weeks.

To help recovery:



  •      hold an ice pack (or a bag of frozen peas in a tea towel) to the injury regularly for short periods in the first few days to bring down any swelling
  •      rest and avoid stress – you or your child do not need to stay awake if you're tired
  •      take paracetamol  or ibuprofen  to relieve pain or a headache – do not use aspirin as it could cause the injury to bleed
  •      make sure an adult stays with you or your child for at least the first 24 hours – call 111 for advice if there's nobody who can stay with you


  •      do not go back to work or school until you're feeling better
  •      do not drive until you feel you have fully recovered
  •      do not play contact sports for at least 3 weeks – children should avoid rough play for a few days
  •      do not take drugs or drink alcohol until you're feeling better
  •      do not take sleeping pills while you're recovering unless a doctor advises you to