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.
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.