Fitness Nutrition Forums

The Science Behind Head Injuries — How to Avoid Long Lasting Damage

Head injuries are a serious matter, causing permanent brain damage in some cases. While you can’t always avoid hitting your head, knowing how to avoid lasting effects of head injuries is a must.

Avoid further trauma

When you have a head injury, further trauma to your head can be detrimental. Choose activities with caution to decrease the risk of worsening your injury, suggests the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Avoid contact sports like football, and activities that can cause falls -- such as biking, skateboarding, roller skating, or skiing.

Ice External Head Injuries

If you experience an external head injury, that is an injury that affects your scalp and often appears as swelling or a “goose egg,” be sure to apply ice to the affected area. suggests icing external head injuries for 20 minutes every three to four hours to help reduce swelling -- which is the main side effect of external head injuries.

See a Doctor

If you suspect an internal head injury, that is an injury that affects your skull or brain like getting a concussion, see a doctor right away. Symptoms that could indicate an internal head injury include dizziness, seeing stars, memory loss, vomiting, headaches, blurred vision, slurred speech, difficulty concentrating, problems with balance or coordination, abnormal breathing, bleeding from the ears, nose or mouth, speech disturbances, unequally sized pupils, weakness, or paralysis, according to

Head Injury Prevention Tips

One of the best ways to avoid the effects of head injuries is to lower your risk of experiencing head trauma altogether. This means wearing a helmet when you’re riding a bike, skateboarding, roller blading, snowboarding, playing contact sports, or riding a motorcycle. If you have little kids at home, childproof your house to cover hard edges and corners, and use safety gates near stairways. Ways to help prevent head injuries in older adults include using non-slip mats in showers and bath tubs and equipping homes with handrails on all stairs and bathrooms.

Bottom Line

You're bound to hit your head at some point in your life and many head injuries heal with no lasting effects. However, doing what you can to avoid head trauma is important due to the severity of some head injuries.

An experienced health, nutrition and fitness writer, Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian and holds a dietetics degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also has worked as a clinical dietitian and health educator in outpatient settings. Erin's work is published on popular health websites, such as and

{{ oArticle.title }}

{{ oArticle.subtitle }}