After someone takes a blow to the head, it is important to know and understand signs that might indicate head or brain damage. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and skull fractures can both cause long-term or even permanent problems if not addressed quickly.
In particular, skull fractures require immediate medical attention to avoid these long-term damages. The symptoms often stand out starkly, so anyone with knowledge on what to look for can make those quick and necessary actions.
Neurological damage due to skull fractures
Merck Manual discusses potential signs that might point to a skull fracture. First, a skull fracture may or may not also cause damage to the brain. If it has, neurological symptoms will often appear shortly after. This can include seizures, severe headaches, and vomiting or nausea. The victim may also experience an inability to move or feel their limbs, increasing or persistent confusion or sleepiness, a loss of balance, trouble speaking, loss of coordination and a lack of recognition of surroundings.
Physical red flags
Regardless of whether or not damage to the brain occurs, skull fractures will likely have some physical signs that indicate the damage, too. This can include blood pooling in the “hollow” areas of the skull, such as behind the ears or around the eyes. Blood may also collect behind the eardrum, or can leak out of the ear if the eardrum suffered from a rupture. Cerebrospinal fluid, a clear liquid between the meninges, may leak from the ears or nose as well.
Any of these signs demand immediate medical attention. Any delay could potentially put a victim at further risk for long-term damages.