Volume 1  Number 2  March 2022

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the online magazine of 
The National Library of Patient Rights & Advocacy
Welcome to The March Issue

what you will find inside ...

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by Julianna Strano

How to Cope with Anxiety
When It's Time to Visit the Doctor

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The Monthly Report on the Current Stories in Healthcare

Hosted by Cori Ritchey  
Executive Producer: Rayah Hammad
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Welcome to the March Issue

Welcome to this month's issue of the new online magazine of The Power of the Patient Project: The National Library of Patient Rights and Advocacy. We appreciate all of the positive feedback we received on our first issue, and hope that you enjoy the stories our editorial team of outstanding healthcare journalists have written for this issue. We welcome your comments and suggestions. We hope that you will enjoy the content of this month's magazine and come back every month to see what is new and relevant to today's patient.

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Concussions: Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms Will Keep You Safe

by Cori Ritchey

 

In the second week of 2022, beloved actor and comedian Bob Saget, 65, was found dead in his hotel room in Florida. Many weeks later, the cause of death was announced and surprised the world.

 

Medical examiners found head trauma in the autopsy. It was assumed that at some point, the actor hit his head, thought nothing of it, and went to sleep. That night, he passed away in his sleep.

 

With the conversations around concussions being on the front lines since the rise in football player suicides in the mid-2010s, what do we need to know about routine head injuries like Saget’s? What can we learn from the late actor’s death?

 

Saget's case is not entirely common, and would typically be easily treated if help is sought right away. Blows to the head can happen to any person at any time, so here are a few signs you should watch out for when you or someone around you experiences one:

SIGNS:

Appears dazed or stunned:

If the person is having a hard time finding their words, or has a look of shock on their face, they might be dazed.

 

Can’t remember events before or after the accident:

Ask the person they are with what they were doing before the accident, or where they are after. If they can’t answer these questions, this is a sure sign that they should be medically examined.

 

If they seem confused:

One of the best things you can do after a head injury is ask the person questions about themselves or things they know well. A few examples of these questions are:

  • What is your name?

  • Where are you right now?

  • Who is the president?

  • What year is it?

If the person can’t answer these questions, take them to get help.

 

Moves clumsily:

If the person's balance seems off, that is likely a sign they have a concussion.

 

Loses consciousness:

If the person has lost consciousness from the accident, even if for a short amount of time, that is a sign they need medical care.

 

If you have experienced a head injury yourself, and you find any of these symptoms within yourself, you should seek medical care: 

 

SYMPTOMS:

Headache or a feeling of pressure in the head:

At its most obvious, a headache after a blow to the head can be the most common sign of a concussion. Sometimes the pain may feel more like an intense pressure building within the head. If either of these feelings persist, you should see a doctor.

 

Nausea or vomiting:

Feeling ill is a very common symptom of concussions.

 

Balance problems, dizziness, or blurred vision:

All of these symptoms are signs of a vestibular problem that can be connected to a concussion.

 

Sensitivity to light or sound:

If you go outside and find yourself squinting your eyes at the sunlight, or turning down the radio when you get in the car, you might be experiencing sensory sensitivity.

 

Confusion or difficulty concentrating:

If every day tasks are taking a lot more time then normal, that might be a sign of difficulty concentrating.

 

Just “not feeling right”:

Many concussion survivors describe feeling “off” the hours and days after a head injury. Sometimes just having a feeling that something is not right is enough of a sign to seek medical care. Trust your gut, and if you feel off, then it is better to be safe than sorry.

 

With head injuries, immediate recognition and care can mean the difference between life and death. Educating yourself on the signs and symptoms of a concussion can help you and your loved ones. As always, if in doubt, call 911 immediately.

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Cori Ritchey is a Washington D.C. native newly transplanted to the Boston area, expected to graduate from Emerson College in 2022 with a Masters in Journalism. She is a graduate of  Penn State University with a bachelors of science in Kinesiology.

Through her experience working on the frontlines of health care, led by a love for reading, writing, and public speaking, Cori became a health and science reporter to shed light on these issues.

copyright 2022 by The Power of the Patient Project

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