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What is a traumatic brain injury?

Workers in any industry can be at risk of having a heavy piece of equipment fall and hit them in the head or body. These common injuries can cause serious damage.

One such type of injury is a traumatic brain injury (TBI). A TBI is typically the result of experiencing a violent blow or jolt to the head or body. These injuries can affect brain cells temporarily or for the long term, depending on their severity. In some cases, a TBI can be fatal.

TBI symptoms

Workers who are struck by equipment should be on the lookout for any symptoms of a TBI, and know that the symptoms may take days or weeks to appear. These symptoms can be physical and/or psychological, and they can often be mistaken for symptoms of something else if they don't present themselves right away.

Symptoms of a mild TBI can include:

  • A loss of consciousness for a few seconds to a few minutes
  • A state of being dazed, confused or disoriented
  • A headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Problems with speech
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping more than usual
  • Dizziness or loss of balance

Sensory problems such as blurred vision, ringing in the ears, a bad taste in the mouth, changes in the ability to smell, or sensitivity to light and sound are also symptoms of a TBI. Some TBI victims experience cognitive symptoms such as memory or concentration problems, mood changes or mood swings, or feeling depressed or anxious.

A moderate or severe TBI can present itself with many of the same symptoms, but more intense, or with more serious symptoms such as:

  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Dilation of one or both pupils
  • Clear fluids draining from the nose or ears
  • The inability to wake up
  • Weakness or numbness in fingers or toes
  • A loss of coordination
  • Profound confusion
  • Agitation, combativeness or other unusual behavior
  • Slurred speech

Seeking medical treatment

Because TBIs can present themselves later and do have such varying symptoms, seeking medical treatment after a work injury is cruicial to diagnose a TBI quickly and get you the medical care you need. It also helps victims who are filing a workers' compensation claim to seek treatment right away.

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