Minor head injury and concussion

A brief period of unconsciousness, or just feeling sick and dizzy, may result from a person banging their head getting into the car, walking into the top of a low door way, or slipping over in the street. It is estimated that 75-80% of all head injuries fall into this category.

This section explains the effects of a minor brain injury, which is also known as a minor head injury, concussion or post-concussion syndrome.

Returning home

On returning home it is important that, if possible, you are accompanied by a responsible adult. While unlikely, there is a small risk of developing complications, so if you experience any of the following symptoms in the next few days you should go to your nearest Emergency Department as soon as possible:

Loss of consciousness Increasing disorientation
New deafness in one or both ears Problems understanding or speaking
Loss of balance or problems walking Blurred or double vision
Any weakness in one or both arms or legs Inability to be woken
Any vomiting Bleeding from one or both ears
Clear fluid coming out of your ears or nose Any fits (collapsing or passing out suddenly)
Drowsiness when you would normally be wide awake Severe headache not relieved by painkillers such as paracetamol

Dos and don'ts

  • DO make sure you stay within reach of a telephone and medical help in the next few days
  • DO have plenty of rest and avoid stressful situations
  • DO show this factsheet to a friend or family member who can keep an eye on your condition
  • DO take painkillers such as paracetamol for headaches
  • DON'T stay at home alone for 48 hours after leaving hospital
  • DON'T drink alcohol until you feel better
  • DON'T take aspirin or sleeping tablets without consulting a doctor
  • DON'T return to work until you feel ready
  • DON'T play any contact sport for at least three weeks without consulting your doctor
  • DON'T return to driving until you feel you have recovered. If in doubt consult your doctor.

Find out more

Find out about management of the possible ongoing effects of concussion, known as 'post-concussion syndrome' on our living with concussion page, and access specialist information and assessment resources on our sport concussion page.